New Zealand’s gambling authorities to review charity requirement for casinos

By Violeta Prockyte

The NZ Gambling Commission is reviewing the charity requirements of New Zealand’s casinos. According to reports, some casinos give less than 1% of their profits to charity, while pokie operators in pubs and clubs are required to hand over around 40% of their proceeds.

Each of six of New Zealand’s casinos has to provide a level of funding for charity as part of its licence agreement with the regulator. The idea was put in place in 2019, when Christchurch Casino received its 15-year licence extension, with the requirement to donate almost 3% of its net profits or NZ$250,000 ($179,345), whichever is the greater sum, to its charitable trust.

Despite the low percentages, the casinos seem to be keeping up with the overall requirement for charity. And some are preparing submissions to be reviewed.

Dunedin Casino donated NZ$52,000 for problem gambling treatment and 1% of gaming machine profit to communities. SkyCity gave away less than 1% to its charity, but it amounted to NZ$500,000.

SkyCity Hamilton reportedly donated close to 2% of its revenue, while SkyCity Queenstown Casino gave away approximately 3% of its annual net profit. Reportedly, Wharf Casino took it one step further, donating 20% in the year it opened and adding 1% for each year of operations until it reached 30%.

“Why is this the priority when it could be focusing on harm minimisation and ensuring casinos are delivering effective host responsibility programmes?” said Andree Froude, spokeswoman for the Problem Gambling Foundation.

"No amount of charity makes up for the harm caused by gambling, and we need to focus on where the money is coming from, often the most vulnerable in our society, and not where it is going.”

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