NSW venues must contribute to centralized fund to add pokie machines

NSW pokies venues will no longer be able to use charities to support their bids for additional poker machines under new rules from the state government, local media reports.

NSW Racing minister Paul Toole on Monday announced new reforms which will see pubs and clubs looking to apply for additional poker machines forced to pay donations into a centralized fund, called the Responsible Gambling Fund.

The money will then be allocated to local projects targeting problem gambling and gambling harm and other social and health issues.  

The previous version of the scheme required venues to demonstrate how an increase in gaming machines would have a positive effect on the local community.

However, this system led to pokie venues routinely approaching local charities, hospital and community organizations with open cheque books to secure approval for their gaming machines.

Toole said the introduction of a centralized fund was designed to improve transparency.

“Our reform will remove this risk by ensuring contributions are allocated at arm’s length from venues and local organisations, making the system fairer and more transparent,” Toole said.

As part of the reforms, the community will also be able to assess applications from local organizations to determine which projects to fund.

“This will mean contributions will continue to go to the community where the applying venue is located,” Toole said.