More funds will be available for communities following a rise in proceeds from gaming machines.
New figures released by the Department of Internal Affairs show that Gaming Machine Proceeds (GMP) in the April-June 2018 quarter increased by 3.1 percent, a total of $6,846,240, compared to the same quarter in 2017.
On average over 90 percent of net proceeds go back to local community groups and organisations, most of which would struggle to survive without this funding, the Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand (GMANZ) says.
But there is concern about the ongoing reduction in pokie machines in pubs and gaming venues, and what that could mean for funding community groups in the future.
There are also renewed calls for the Government to ban pokies and phase out all existing machines.
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Northland GP Dr Lance O'Sullivan told TV3's The Hui the gambling machines prey on the most vulnerable.
"If New Zealand's keen to address child abuse, you've got to address the drivers of child abuse – it’s child poverty, and these machines are contributing to that."
The Problem Gambling Foundation says in wealthier areas there is one machine for every 475 people, but in poorer areas it's one machine for every 75.
“We recognise that there is an issue with some people having an addiction to gambling,” GMANZ spokesperson Bruce Robertson told RadioLIVE’s Wendyl Nissen.
But he says no other form of gambling makes such a significant contribution to community good.
“The majority of people in the community, doing a lot of good work, really need the funding from the pokies to fund their activities; whether it’s schools, sporting activities, Hospices, rescue helicopters, and the rest of it.
“In fact, mostly we actually get very positive feedback.
Listen to the full interview with Bruce Robertson above.
The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.