Pub Charity is one of the biggest gaming trusts in New Zealand, providing pokie grants to all types of not-for-profit organizations. This week, the trust has stopped accepting grant applications from Anglican-associated organizations, causing a uproar among gaming industry professionals. The scandal hit the media when a rejection letter from Pub Charity to Christchurch Cathedral was released.
The church was seeking $235 000 for repair costs, but the gaming trust refused to offer assistance. According to the New Zealand Herald, the rejection letter stated that the application was rejected because "the Anglican Church has indicated its opposition to gaming funds”. It seems that Pub Charity is reacting to an announcement made by Ross Bay, the Bishop of Auckland.
He recently stated that local organizations associated with the Anglican Church would no longer be accepting pokie machine funds. After the rejection letter was release, Bay clarified that he was only referring to Auckland and not speaking on a national level. The Department of Internal Affairs has also weighed in on the issue. Representatives of the DIA confirm that Pub Charity’s move was illegal.
"If an organisation is a charitable purpose and it meets the criteria it should be able to apply, irrespective of its political or its social views, or the opinion of a senior person in its executive,” says Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain. Jolyon White, a social worker for Anglican Care, feels that Pub Charity is bullying local Anglican organizations.
Anglican Care and many other organizations that are operated by the Church provide counselling and other assistance to problem gamblers. So, is seems unfair that Pub Charity would refuse all grant applications from Anglican-based organizations. Pub Charity has not yet responded to the criticism, but it seems that the trust will have to amend its criteria in the very near future.