Enquiry into gaming trusts long overdue

Tuesday 4 May 2010, 11:25AM

The Problem Gambling Foundation supports a recent New Zealand Law Journal article that recommends a review of the distribution of electronic gaming machine funds.

The article, in the March edition, and written by Dr Michael Gousmett, recommends that the 2010 review of the Charitable Trusts Act 1957 and the Charities Act 2005, should also encompass the Gambling Act 2003 and its distribution requirement.

Graeme Ramsey, Problem Gambling Foundation CEO, says a review into the distribution of electronic gaming machine funds is long overdue.

“We welcome a review to look at how pokie trusts distribute hundreds of millions of pokie losses back to the community and what the alternatives are,” he says.

“The current system of distribution of pokie money through trusts is open to rorts and dodgy practices. The review process would not only provide an opportunity for public debate on this issue, but also identify that there needs to be increased transparency and accountability of gambling proceeds. There must be a better way.”

Last year, the Eureka Trust resolved to stop giving pokie money to horse racing after the Problem Gambling Foundation prepared to launch proceedings against them for breaching their Trust Deed.

Dr Michael Gousmett believes ‘the Eureka Trust debacle has opened a Pandora’s box, and a comprehensive enquiry into gaming in New Zealand, along the lines of the Australian Government Productivity Commission Draft Report (2009), is clearly overdue’.

Graeme Ramsey says a review would be a step on the way to establishing a fair and equitable system of distribution of community funding.

“Every day we see the harm caused by pokie machines and the high social cost to the community. If we have to have these dangerous machines, the community deserves to be getting as much charitable funding as possible,” he says