The Government must act swiftly and decisively to ensure that the profits generated by gaming machines are actually being used for charitable purposes within local communities, Labour’s Internal Affairs spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.
”Under the Gambling Act it is very clear that profits generated from pokie machines need to be used for charitable purposes. Recent revelations that gaming machine proceeds have been used to rennovate a pokie room in a strip club, fund lavish meals in fancy restaurants, and encourage gaming venues to switch from one Trust to another, are totally unacceptable,” Chris Hipkins said.
“I congratulate the Department of Internal Affairs for the decisive action they have taken in dealing with these instances. However the fact remains that there are still some very questionable practices in parts of the pokie trust sector and the Government needs to deal with them.
“At a time when community groups are struggling for funding, it’s important that every dollar that should be used for charitable purposes actually is. Local groups and clubs who have been turned down for funding will be shocked to learn where some of the money has ended up.
“Both the current Minister of Internal Affairs Nathan Guy and his predecessor Richard Worth expressed concerns about “dubious practices” in parts of the gaming machine industry. They need to do more than just express concerns, they actually need to do something about it.
“I’m more than happy to discuss these matters with the Minister at any time to ensure he can gain sufficient support for any legislative changes that may be required. It’s time for some action,” Chris Hipkins said.