Gambling researcher, Dr Charles Livingstone, commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has found that more than AU$7 million has been donated back to Canberra clubs. His findings are that this was between 2014 and 2015.
“So about 70 per cent of the claims appear to be the clubs basically making donation to themselves and much of that goes to elite sportspeople, wages for coaches and that sort of thing” said Dr Livingstone.
Eight percent of the acquisition clubs make from pokies is supposed to be donated to support communities. However, in FARE’s report, only AU$63 000 was donated to problem gambling, and out of the 46 clubs in Canberra, just a few made contributions.
Dr Livingstone also said “The money only came from one or two clubs and most of the money that was claimed as a contribution to problem gambling was spent by a club on its staff training rather than on providing services to gamblers,”.
WHAT DO DO CANBERRA CLUBS SAY ABOUT THE CHARITY FRAUD?
Australian Hotels Association general manager, Gwyn Rees said “The community contributions are set at a certain level. Separately there is a fund specifically allocated to dealing with problem gambling”. He went on to say that the allegations are “offensive” and “farcical”.
Ian Mackay, Canberra Southern Cross Club chief also condemned the report saying that “We support over 350 community groups, schools and local charities to the tune around AUD1.5 million.”
Rees also said that their fund is set at 6% of net gaming revenue and that it would be moving up to 7.5% in July.
Other clubs like The Tradies Club were not available for comment. And a spokesperson for the Labour Club said “We don’t have a comment for the media” when the ABC approached the five biggest clubs in the city.
A statement sent out by a spokesperson from the ACT Government stated that to improve the community contributions process, it would work with other stakeholders and clubs that are interested.