Charities hit as pokie dollars dry up

In New Zealand a body distributing tens of millions of dollars of profits from gaming machines in pubs and clubs has stopped giving grants because it hasn’t got any income.

Pub Charity Chief Executive Martin Cheer says the closure of licensed facilities due to Covid-19 has meant that takings have dropped to virtually zero because no money is going through the machines.

He has put off the monthly round of grants due to take place this week until next month, and with no definite end date to the lockdown, “we just don’t know when the tap is going to get turned back on again,” he said.

New Zealand went into total lockdown at midnight on March 25, and all non-essential businesses have been closed since then.

Charities like the Stroke Foundation and the Cancer Society which rely on public donations have reported sharp drops in income as regular donors stop payments as financial circumstances tighten.

A four-year government investment plan to help national sporting bodies become more competitive and get more people playing sport has been put off for a year although grants will continue in the meantime.