Tararua community groups and sports clubs benefitting from gaming funds are being urged to take part in an upcoming review by the district council. These groups currently receive NZ$1.54 million in proceeds from 11 gaming venues across the district. However, the impact of gaming machines and problem gambling on the Tararua community are a serious concern. In the upcoming review, communities have been urged to reveal what they’ve achieved with gaming funds. Submissions can be made through the ‘have your say’ link on the District Council’s website until 10 May.
During the review, councillors will be investigating the impact of gambling on vulnerable members of the Tararua community and the overall benefit of gaming proceeds. At the moment, multiple schools, kindergartens and playcentres use the funds. Other community projects include the Tararua Community Youth Services, Dannevirke Tigers Rugby League Club and Dannevirke Sports Club.
Policy Change will Affect Tararua Community
Since the above Tararua community groups depend on gaming machine proceeds, their involvement could influence the review. Still, most groups might not be equipped to provide a report to council. Of course, any extra information could help problem gamblers affected by nearly 100 machines in the district. The current cap has had no impact on addiction rates, according to recent findings for 2018.
Unfortunately, stricter policies might turn gamblers to offshore gambling websites and the proceeds could drop. New Zealand doesn’t tax overseas casino sites for now, so Tararua community groups might feel the brunt of the changes.
On the other hand, some New Zealand gambling groups are pushing for a higher limit on gaming machines. The current policy could be increased to 115 pokies. But, with current responsibility laws, there would be no new gambling venues. Until a decision can be agreed on, it’s all up in the air for now.
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