Pub gaming brings many benefits to New Zealand. Business and Economic Research Ltd (BERL) research calculated that each year the entertainment value to recreational players is around $250 million, the grants value to the community is around $300 million, and the government revenue value in the form of tax, duties and levies is around $279 million.
Pub gaming funds are an important source of income for community organisations. The Ministry of Health's Gambling Resource for Local Government reports that during 2011:
The resource also notes the flow-on effects of funding community organisations, which include 'increased sustainability of community institutions and increased economic activity through expenditure'.
In 2012, Auckland Council undertook research (Community Funding: A Focus on Gaming Grants) to find out how important pub gaming funds were to its community. Most survey participants (55%) believed there would be a high to extreme risk to their organisation and their core business if they did not receive this funding. A further 26% said there would be a moderate risk if they did not receive it.
In addition, two-thirds (68%) said they thought they would be unlikely to find another source of funding if gaming funds were not available.
Most pub gaming rooms are managed by local publicans, who offer 'pokies' as part of their entertainment package, along with meals, music and other social activities. These businesses contribute to the local economy, employing staff and providing a vibrant hospitality sector for residents and tourists alike.
‘Pokie-playing’ is a valid, legal and enjoyable source of entertainment as long as the games are played responsibly. Most pokie players, like Lotto players, do so to ‘have a little thrill’. They regard it as light entertainment, and the majority of players know when to stop. In research undertaken in 2011, BERL noted that pokie expenditure is directly related to disposable income.