Pokie gambling often gets a bad press, including headlines about people who have stolen from family or employers to feed a gambling addiction.
The other side of the coin is the huge number of community organisations that benefit from gaming machine proceeds. In the 2015/16 financial year alone good causes received about $260 million in grants, an amount these groups would struggle to source elsewhere.
To better inform the public of the link between pokie gambling and financial help to New Zealand's communities, Internal Affairs has produced an online booklet called “Pokie Proceeds: Building Strong Communities.” It tells the stories of 10 organisations helped by pokie funding – why they applied for a grant, challenges they faced, what the money was put to and tips for other applicants.
The booklet aims to:
• improve the visibility and benefits of gaming machine grants
• provide an insight into grant recipient experiences
• provide useful information to organisations seeking grants
• provide examples of sector-wide best practice and transparent processes.
Former Fair Go television journalist, Anna Kenna, wrote the stories selecting recipients from a range of organisations - big and small, national and local, sporting, health and the arts.
To improve knowledge and build organisations’ confidence in seeking funding, the booklet includes tips on how best to apply for pokie grants.
In turn, the gaming machine societies, which distribute funding, will benefit when applications come from a range of good causes and the forms are well filled-in.
Providing community funds is a key provision of the gambling legislation and the gambling regulatory framework seeks to balance the inherent tension between minimising harm and maximising benefit for the New Zealand public.
The e-booklet is hosted on the DIA website and the Department encourages gaming machine societies to link to it from their websites and grant application forms.