Gaming trusts to give more to community

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 08:54 21/05/2014
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Changes to the gambling sector will see gaming trusts required to give away more of their earnings through community grants.

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne said new laws would see the distribution of funds to the community by way of grants rise over five years, from the present minimum of 37.12 per cent of gaming machine gross proceeds up to a minimum of 42 per cent.

"Current annual returns to the community are approximately $260 million," he said.

"This figure could increase by a further $10 million because of the increase in the rate of return.

"The staggered increase will commence in the first financial year after the regulations come into force - 40 per cent in the first year, 41 per cent in the third financial year and 42 per cent in year five. It is anticipated that the new regulations will come into force around September 2014."

Dunne said the reforms, which had already been signed off by Cabinet, would see more money returned to the community, leave less room for dishonesty, and reduce red tape.

"Large sums of money are at stake in the [gaming] sector and it is important to ensure, as far as possible, that the maximum amount of gaming machine funds is returned to the community," he said.

The changes would apply to "non-club gaming machine societies", which operate machines in pubs and bars, but not casinos such as SkyCity.

Dunne said there were 44 non-club societies and the average return was close to 41 per cent. About half of those would have to make an adjustment to meet the new minimum.

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