Grassroots Trust Suspension Goes Over Badly

The suspension of Grassroots Trust poker machines began last week, shutting down pokies in various pubs across the country. The suspension as meant to penalize the trust for failing to pay over $500 000 to the community, but pub owners state that the only people suffering will be them.

Pub owners have come forward to express their disappointment with the resolution to Grassroots Trusts’ transgression. Rather than punishing the trust itself, the government has taken profits away from pub owners. Without poker machines, many local pubs will lose business to casinos and other venues that have pokies in operation.

Moving forward, Grassroots Trust will be required to pay 40% of its profits to the community and 11% to pub owners. This means that Grassroots Trust will not have to pay any fines or undertake any punishment that may deter them from breaking gaming laws again in the future.

“There is simply no justice or common sense in this approach,” says Reg Hennessy, Vice President of Hospitality New Zealand. “Why are the trustees and managers not being fined?”

He believes that more consideration for pub owners should be shown in this situation. They are being forced to take the brunt of the punishment while Grassroots Trust pays no mind.

Community Groups Will Not Lose Funding As A Result of Harm Reduction Bill

According to MP Te Ururoa Flavell, local charities and community groups do not have anything to worry about when it comes to the new harm reduction bill that could see many poker machines across New Zealand removed. He assures them that they will not lose funding but rather are likely to see an increase.

The harm reduction bill would give city councillors the power to reduce the number of poker machines in their jurisdictions. Unlike sinking lid policies, the poker machines would have to be removed within 12 months.

Since poker machines generate a large portion of funding of local charities and community groups, many local groups have become worried that the bill will jeopardize their funding. However, Flavell states that this is not likely to happen. Instead, he claims that the bill will allow for more funding to be generated for charities and not-for-profit organizations.

As it stands, only a small portion (less than 20%) is donated from poker machine profits to local charities. Under the new legislation, the community could see up to 80% of poker machines’ profits as local funding.