Gambling Funding for New Zealand Charities

In New Zealand, gaming operators are required to donate 7% of their profits to community initiatives across the country. The system is one of the most beneficial in the world, providing more money to community projects than most other gambling markets. The money gathered from gambling operators is used to fund a wide range of projects, including sports, arts, health and education initiatives. Many of the donations from gambling grants go back into the communities in which they were raised.

Gambling operators donate their money to a wide range of Gambling Trusts across the country, such as Pub Charity and The Lion Club. Community groups and organizations then apply to these foundations for funding. Operators do not directly handle donations in order to avoid conflicts of interest.

The proceeds donated by gaming clubs provide the most significant source of community funding for not-for-profit organizations across New Zealand. Gambling grants make a more significant impact on community efforts than any other financial resource in the country.

Over the course of the last year, The Lion Foundation donated more than $53 million to 4175 charities and community efforts across New Zealand. In its 26 years of operation, the foundation has awarded over $590 million in gambling grants. Last year, sports received the most amount of funding with $20.5 million, followed by community efforts which received $16.1 million. Health and education both received over $8 million.

This year, Pub Charity donated $24 million. Sport and community, yet again, received the most funding with sports clubs receiving $7.6 million and community efforts receiving $6.9 million. Education and Health Services received $4 million and $3.3 million, respectively. Emergency services received $1.9 million.

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Economic Effect of Gambling in the US

Gambling is one of the American people’s favorite hobbies, and the topic has amazed me since I read the book Bringing Down the House in 5th grade. On a recent college visit to California, I was surprised to learn that one course available for completing the math requirement was called “The Probability of Gambling”, and was a study of the probability behind various card games, including Texas Hold ‘em and blackjack. Gambling is also a popular venue in the media, as can be seen in popular movies such as 21 and Casino Royal. When I was younger, the concept of earning money while playing a game that I enjoyed fascinated me, but as I grew older, I realized the naivety of those beliefs. Casinos wouldn’t offer gambling if patrons were consistently putting the casinos in debt. Now, I am more interested in the effect gambling has had on society, specifically on its economic impacts. I believe that gambling has been beneficial for the US economy in the past and will continue to benefit the economy for years to come, but the stress gambling puts on society has greatly increased problems in communities with high profile gambling industries.

Gambling in the Americas began when the first colonists came from England, and the Virginia Company needed a way to get some profit. They turned to a lottery, which was quite successful, except it was associated with settler’s laziness as well as the economic troubles faced by the colony. The Crown eventually shut down the lottery due to its impact on a royal lottery operated throughout the British Empire. Lotteries were used again by American colonists in an attempt to raise funds for the Revolutionary War without raising taxes. This was extremely successful, and the practice was continued into the 19th century in order to transportation improvements, especially as the Western frontier continued to gain attention and popularity. When gold was discovered in California, gambling became one of the most popular forms of entertainment for miners in the West. However, the economy slid into a recession after the gold rush, leading many people to associate gambling with economic depression. Lotteries were also becoming increasingly corrupt, with organizers fixing the results for a portion of the pot. These circumstances led to nationwide ban on gambling, with the exception being Nevada, where professional gamblers would flock to from across the country to create the foundation for modern day Las Vegas.

The ban on gambling didn’t last long, as the Great Depression forced government leaders to revoke the ban in an attempt to stimulate the faltering economy. Gambling once again grew in popularity, although it only increased the divide between the rich and the poor due to the uneven payoff associated with casino gambling. State lotteries became popular during the Cold War, especially when Reagan became president, because he cut national funding for key aspects of the country such as education and Medicare in order to fund the war against the USSR. Tribal gambling also began to grow in popularity during this time, due to state’s inability to regulate prize money on reservations. Instead of going to state run lotteries or gambling locations, locals and tourists alike would flock to the reservations in the hopes of winning it all, although this rarely ever occurred. These various aspects of gambling have steadily become more popular, with casinos and lotteries providing support for various state economies.

Gambling provides two main benefits to states: casinos bring in tourists while also paying tax to the state for gambling revenues. An influx of tourists means money flows into the state economy without any significant loss of money due to the low odds of winning at casinos. The state gets even more money from gambling because casinos are forced to pay a tax on all revenue earned, with tax revenue almost reaching $1 billion dollars in Nevada. The gambling industry has also created more than 500,000 jobs, lowering unemployment throughout the nation. However, gambling isn’t perfect, and there are other statistics that paint a much more worrisome picture about the industry.

Crime seems to be strongly correlated to gambling, with cities introducing casinos seeing an increase of over 50% in crime rates. This forces states to spend more on the police force, diverting funding away from other projects in an attempt to combat a problem caused by gambling. Organized crime is also a very common issue due to the large amount of cash flowing in and out of casinos each day. Problem gambling also becomes a much larger issue when casinos are present, which in turn leads to a higher crime rate when people need to pay off gambling debt. There are some detrimental aspects of gambling in society, but for the most part, the gambling industry has helped keep the American economy from slumping.

After reviewing the various statistics from my research, I believe that gambling has been beneficial for America. Whenever the country has faced economic hardship, gambling has been promoted or legalized to bolster a weak economy. Not only does it have a positive influence on the economy, but I believe that gambling also benefits the American people. Card games such as poker and blackjack are universal and can help bring people together in social environments. In a few short months, I will be able to legally experience the large attraction gambling has to a large number of Americans. Although there are some harmful side effects of gambling, these are outweighed by the benefit that the industry has displayed throughout history.

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Raffle Ticket – A Good Source For Raising Funds

Raffle tickets, a game system originally from Italy, are common in fundraisers mostly due to their predictable nature and family friendly approach in comparison to lottery and gambling. Raffle tickets are simply tickets that have boxes in which numbers are imprinted in accordance to the numbers bought buy the customers. After purchase, a list of gifts are displayed and one-by-one, the gifts are given out in accordance to the number that is drawn from the tombola (small tickets containing numbers that are placed in a bucket to be drawn). Though the concept is similar to gambling and lottery, raffle tickets are unique mostly because it is less monetary oriented and focuses on prizes and most of the proceedings meant mostly for charity or fund raising.

Another obvious advantage for raffles ticket draws is that they are always legal and can be done anywhere as long as proceedings are meant for charity or for legal fund raising. This helps organizers of events to cut costs in legal application for running a raffle draw. Another interesting matter surrounding raffle is its cheap cost of operations. For any raffle draw, all you need is prizes, tickets and a date to draw the tickets. Since prizes are easily obtained, tickets can be sold in the thousands to ensure that more funds and profit can be made from it.

Here are a few more important things to know about raffles and the benefits fund raising events can get from running it:

Raffle ticket productions are cheap!

Raffle tickets can be as cheap as cut out pieces of paper with numbers written on them manually. For low budget fund raisers, there is no need for fancy tickets and expensive printings, rather, take the time to cut out colored papers and writing numbers on them to cut costs.

Prizes can be donated items or promotional items

Contacting local producers or companies to ask for financial endorsements or even for gifts are a common practice and can make up for expensive gift pricing. For example, approaching the Cola company for one or two crates of Cola or maybe some souvenirs in return of publicity will ensure that not only are you advertising for a branded company, you are also getting free prizes to give out, which then in return increases the profits per ticket sold.

Make promotional ticket bundle sales

Tickets can be sold at bundle prizes, for example, 7 tickets for the price of 5 tickets. This gives the customers the feeling of satisfaction as they believe that the more numbers they can get their hands on, the more chances they have for winning prizes. These bundle sales can also be combined with other item sales such as packaged sales. For example, purchase a lunch set of a hot dog, fries and drinks and get 2 free raffle tickets and a discount on 10 tickets. This will not only promote the sales of raffle tickets, but also boost the sales of intended sales item, if any are available. This makes for more profits via sales and indirect sales.

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What You Should Know Before You Invest in Mutual Funds

Most people have heard the term ‘mutual funds’ but few have actually used this as an investment medium. Most small investors however have a very limited understanding of mutual funds that goes something like this a mutual fund is a “pool of money invested in stocks or interest bearing instruments” by those who are experts in the field. I don’t know about you but I would need a little more than this definition in order to invest my hard earned money or stake my retirement on the word of one other person. The truth is that many of those who invest in mutual funds experience very real gains as the result of their venture.

What Exactly is a Mutual Fund?

On a broad scope, mutual funds are an avenue in which you can invest a small amount of money with the potential of owning higher priced stocks and bonds that would under other circumstances only be available in large lots that you couldn’t afford on your own. The way in which this happens is through many people pooling the money to buy larger chunks of stock at lower prices. An example would be that the XYZ Widget Company has stocks trading at $10 per share and you would like to invest $100 in this company. The problem is that XYZ Company has a lot size of 1000 shares, which would cost $10,000. Mutual funds can pool together the $100 of 100 people in order to meet the minimum requirement.

Types of Mutual Funds

We have seen many evolutions in the stock market since its inception. Mutual funds have lasted through many of the changes we have seen over time and show no real sign of faltering. Below you will find a brief description of the various types of mutual funds currently on the market.

Equity Funds. These funds deal with equity shares of corporations. They carry not only high risks but also the opportunity for high rewards. Depending on the industry involved, these funds may be sector oriented (technology funds will invest in emerging technologies for example) or diversified meaning they consist of many funds from different sectors.

Debt Funds. As their name applies these funds deal primarily with debt-oriented mediums (those that carry interest). These funds invest in Treasury Bills, bonds, and other government papers. These investments are relatively low risk since there is a guaranteed return in the form of interest however the rewards are somewhat limited as they are not based on market movement. They are not ‘fool proof’ or risk free but they are a very safe investment for the tortoise type of investor beginning early or those with a sizable nest egg not worth putting in too much risk.

Balance Funds. These funds are perhaps the most interesting as they offer security along with a balanced diet of risk. With this type of investing you would set a predetermined ratio of investing (60% debt funds and 40% equity funds is a good safe ratio but it is up to the investor) and invest according to your comfort zone of risk and security. This type of investing offsets the risk of equity investing while living a little on the edge in hopes of great payoffs down the road while enjoying the security of debt funds-literally offering the best of both worlds to investors.

Each of the types of investing mentioned above has pros and cons and the answer of which is the best is a question that only you can answer. This is your retirement, future, nest egg, or kid’s college fund so only you can decide what an acceptable risk is. If you are willing to gamble equity funds might be best, if you’d prefer a surer bet, then debt funds might be best. If you have a little bit of adventure but don’t want to ‘risk it all’ then perhaps the balance fund is your best destination.

Price Determination

Once you have a basic understanding of the available options, the next step lies in understanding the price and how it is determined. The income of mutual funds is generally acquired in the form of interest, dividends, and trading. In debt securities however interest income is all but assured. This is not the case when dealing with equity stocks and the dividend in these situations depends on the profits earned by the company among other factors.

When investing in debt funds it may be that your best interest would not be a mutual fund. If you can afford the investment without the mutual fund you should determine which would be best for your situation. You want to choose the route that will offer you the higher reward. Keep in mind that market trends do not carry quite the weight when dealing with debt funds, as they will with equity funds.

Equity funds offer trading that is based on the perception of the fund manager as to what the market is preparing to do and the current risks vs. the potential reward. There are many things that will affect a stocks future from legislation to competition and millions of things in between that aren’t limited to technological advances and scientific breakthroughs. Thus the higher risk nature of this particular type of investment.

Understanding NAV

The first thing I should do here is explain what NAV stands for: the Net Asset Value of mutual funds. This value is declared on a daily basis and is the simple difference between assets and liabilities of the fund at the end of each day. The value is explained per unit and this is how the purchase price of the units are determined.

The Investment Decision

With so many mutual funds on the market you really need to study the funds you are considering before you take the plunge so to speak (as this is definitely the opposite of your goal)? Seriously, what parameters should you base your decision on? While there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to investing, the following advice might point you in the right direction.

The investors approach. It really helps when investing if you are a very self-aware type of person. Knowing yourself helps you understand your intentions and establish proper goals for your investment strategy. Knowing yourself also helps you identify how much of a risk you are actually willing to take. If you are an aggressive investor and are comfortable with the risks involved but hoping for short run profits, you may wish to take things one step further and go with sector specific funds. Just remember these are highly speculative and can bring big profits quickly but when the numbers begin to fall, they tend to fall equally fast, which can result in heavy losses.

The Pedigree. As you study mutual funds you will learn that the past can often forecast the future. For example, the dot com crash wasn’t a one size fits all fiasco. There were some stocks that seemed slow and steady throughout who weathered the financial fallout of the overall industry. Your fund manager will have a lot to do with the profits and risks that you will accrue with your mutual fond. Conservative fund managers tend to invest slow and steady with minimal risks, they will not make aggressive trades even in sector specific funds.

The age and size of the fund are other mitigating factors when it comes to the decision making process. New funds may post heavy gains in the beginning but are often unable to stay the course once the test of time steps in. It is best, particularly for conservative investors to adopt a more cautious approach when dealing with new funds unless those managing the funds have a sterling reputation from previous work.

The Financials. The most important factor when making decisions regarding whether or not to invest in a Mutual Fund is the financial situation and forecast. Many things should go into your decision making process not the least of which are the past performance of a fund, the current trend of earning, operating expenses, and entry or exit loads. Each one of these factors is very important and none of them should be overlooked during the decision making process.

Diversification. We have all been warned of the dangers that go along with putting all of your eggs into one basket and many learned this lesson the hard way during the dot com crash of the nineties. Before investing in a fund you should take a moment to see exactly how diverse the fund really is. You could always elect to invest some of your money in one fund and other amounts of money elsewhere. I always recommend keeping some money invested in debt oriented funds rather than all monies invested in equity funds. This allows some degree of security so that all is not lost over a deal gone wrong. The benefit of a diverse portfolio that invests in multiple sectors is that if one industry takes a huge hit you may be able to cover your losses with the other items in your portfolio.

Monitoring. Contrary to popular belief, mutual fund investing isn’t about making an investment and leaving the rest to the experts. You must continuously and constantly keep an eye towards the bottom line in order to insure that your best interests are being served. No one is infallible, experts included. Follow the NAV reports on a daily basis in order to protect your interests. Remember that no one is going to care for your interests quite the way you will.

While the pointers mentioned above are on the mark they are by no means all inclusive. Investing in mutual funds is a gamble like any other kind of investing. Be certain that you aren’t risking more than you are willing to loose but diligently guard what you do invest in hopes of avoiding loss. Ultimately, experience is the greatest teacher when it comes to investing and some mistakes will simply need to be made in order to learn and grow. We all make them and some are painful. Hopefully the information above will help you minimize your losses while maximizing your gains.

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Internet Gambling Laws in the US Will Soon Take a Dramatic Turn

The U.K. introduced sweeping changes to its internet gambling laws with the passage of the Gambling Act of 2005. The stated purposes of the act were very noble: to prevent gambling from being a source of crime and disorder; to ensure gambling would be conducted in a fair and open manner; and to protect children from being harmed by enforcing the legal gambling age of 18 years. In practice, of course, the act led to a surge in on site operators moving to the country and a corresponding increase in tax revenues as a result.

In the U.S., the situation is much different. Gambling is legal under Federal law but prohibited in many states, with some local exceptions. Legal gambling states include Nevada and New Jersey, although many states have passed laws that legalize gambling in certain municipalities as well as on Native American lands. Internet gambling laws, on the other hand, have effectively prohibited operators from doing business within the states.

In 2006 Congress approved an act that dramatically affected the internet gambling laws and effectively proclaimed the industry illegal. That act threw the industry into turmoil, and drove virtually all of the U.S. based operations out of the country. Sites operated out of the U.K. and the Bahamas now garner a majority of this profitable business. But numerous faults in the 2006 legislation and the feeling that Congress has more important things to worry about have now pushed the country to the brink of legalizing the industry.

If the U.S. is to proceed with the legalization of gambling over the internet, congress must first do away with its awkward attempt at making it illegal under the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (more easily referred to as UIGEA). The purpose of that act was fairly simple: make it illegal for banks, credit card companies, and other payment processors to transfer funds from gamblers to online casinos and from those online casinos back to the gamblers.

You must understand, however, that the preference of lawmakers has always been to prohibit online gambling. But concerns about the constitutionality of such a prohibition as well as the mind boggling problems associated with enforcing the ban have consistently killed any possible actions along those lines. So Congress chose instead to try to attack the problem by preventing the flow of capital between the gamblers and the casinos under the UIGEA.

Now, thanks in no small part to the national financial meltdown, Congress is poised to reverse its approach to internet gambling laws and scrub the problem-plagued UIGEA. Under a couple of proposed House bills including one sponsored by Barney Franks and Ron Paul, Congress now appears poised to legalize and regulate the industry.

Whenever Congress actually considers such a sensible approach you can assume that there are potential tax revenues to be gained. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that one of the major benefits of legalized gambling is additional revenue for the government. Recent studies have indicated that the tax revenues the government stands to reap from a legalized online gambling industry could reach more than $50 billion over the next 10 years.

Hopefully, based on current sentiment in Congress regarding internet gambling laws, U.S. based online gambling fans will soon be able to enjoy their sport legally through U.S. based operations that will be under the scrutiny, and taxing power, of the Federal government.

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