In New Zealand, gaming operators are required to donate 7% of their profits to community initiatives across the country. The system is one of the most beneficial in the world, providing more money to community projects than most other gambling markets. The money gathered from gambling operators is used to fund a wide range of projects, including sports, arts, health and education initiatives. Many of the donations from gambling grants go back into the communities in which they were raised.
Gambling operators donate their money to a wide range of Gambling Trusts across the country, such as Pub Charity and The Lion Club. Community groups and organizations then apply to these foundations for funding. Operators do not directly handle donations in order to avoid conflicts of interest.
The proceeds donated by gaming clubs provide the most significant source of community funding for not-for-profit organizations across New Zealand. Gambling grants make a more significant impact on community efforts than any other financial resource in the country.
Over the course of the last year, The Lion Foundation donated more than $53 million to 4175 charities and community efforts across New Zealand. In its 26 years of operation, the foundation has awarded over $590 million in gambling grants. Last year, sports received the most amount of funding with $20.5 million, followed by community efforts which received $16.1 million. Health and education both received over $8 million.
This year, Pub Charity donated $24 million. Sport and community, yet again, received the most funding with sports clubs receiving $7.6 million and community efforts receiving $6.9 million. Education and Health Services received $4 million and $3.3 million, respectively. Emergency services received $1.9 million.
Unfortunately, funds derived from New Zealand online casinos and other online gambling websites are not used to help community efforts in the country. This is because offshore gaming websites are not regulated by the New Zealand government. Politicians are currently reviewing the Interactive Gambling Act, however, and the regulation of international gambling websites is not entirely out of the realm of possibility.
A common worry among organizations requiring funding is the possibility of receiving funds from problem gamblers. However, The Lion Foundation assures that gambling is not a detrimental activity for New Zealand residents. The foundation quotes the Department of International Affairs, which states that “gambling can be a harmless entertainment activity from which people can derive personal enjoyment and which provides other positive social benefits”.