GamblingWatch has blamed successive governments for sport and community groups’ heavy reliance on the gambling industry to stay afloat.

And sports clubs, competitions and community programmes could go under through lack of funding, said Dave Macpherson, co-ordinator of the group which wants reform of the industry.

There was a growing pool of applicants for a shrinking pool of funding.

“Due to an almost complete denial of both the benefits and financial needs of volunteer-run organisations in the community, successive governments have given most groups no choice but to seek ever-increasing amounts of cash from the pokie industry,” Macpherson said.

The grants were uncertain and becoming even more so, while more clubs and groups were applying for funds from pokie trusts and charitable trusts than before.

In addition, a few large, often professional sporting organisations were getting very large grants, leaving very little for small or medium size clubs and groups, he said.

The Department of Internal Affairs did not believe it had a role in seeing the equitable sharing of available funds. Making matters worse, the Government removed the Hillary Commission sport and recreation grants for local sporting clubs and schools several years ago.

NZPA