Unclaimed Gambling Winnings Fund Jackie Chan Movie in Australia

Posted on: October 23, 2018, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: October 23, 2018, 09:12h.

Unclaimed gambling winnings in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, were used by the state government in 2016 to help fund a Jackie Chan sci-fill thriller titled “Bleeding Steel.”

gambling winnings Jackie Chan movie
Gambling winnings that went unclaimed in Australia helped fund a Jackie Chan flick. (Image: United Entertainment/Reuters/Casino.org)

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that an $850,000 grant was provided by the state’s Community Development Fund (CDP), which is financed through unclaimed gambling winnings. Known as pokies Down Under, unclaimed slot machine winning slips and tickets are directed to the CDP.

Administered by the NSW’s Office of Responsible Gambling, the government says the CDP “was established to create and implement programs for community benefit.”

“Bleeding Steel” was panned by critics, and has just a 22 percent approval rating on movie website Rotten Tomatoes.

In a review of the movie, the South China Morning Post said it “hits a new low in terms of the nonsensical garbage he (Chan) is willing to put his name to.” Variety summarized the film as a “corny cyberpunk pastiche” that appeals “exclusively to kids.”

New South Wales is home to The Star Sydney, a casino resort featuring 140 table games and 1,500 slots. It’s the second largest gaming space in Australis behind only the Crown Melbourne.

Gambling on Film

NSW government officials are defending the $850,000 payment in light of the revelation. They contend that the grant indeed provided a great community benefit. “Blue Steel” was principally filmed in Sydney.

The project directly injected over $20 million into the NSW economy and employed over 1,100 staff, crew, cast, and extras in NSW between May and September 2016,” a spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Other lawmakers, however, called the distribution highly unusual. Under the 2001 Gaming Machines Act, NSW Liquor, Gaming & Racing Deputy Secretary Paul Newson’s office has the authority to delegate CDP money to programs deemed worthy.

“This fund is derived from unclaimed gambling winnings. It should be used for genuine community building projects or used to support victims of gambling harm,” NSW legislator Justin Field opined.

Other grants from the CDP include nearly $1 million to the horse and greyhound industries, and 30 grants issued to upgrade or build war memorials across New South Wales.

Australia is home to one of the highest problem gambling rates in the world. In 2016, Aussies on average lost $990 per citizen gambling, more than any other developed country. Singapore was a distant second at $650 per person.

A recent illuminated advertisement for a horse race on the “sails” of the Sydney Opera House generated much criticism. Gaming industry opponents said the advertisement only highlighted the country’s betting obsession, and that the iconic venue is “not a billboard.”

Chan Gives Back

One of the most recognizable and influential movie stars in the world, Chan has appeared in more than 150 films since the 1960s. In 2016, Forbes said he was the second highest paid actor on planet Earth behind only Robert Downey Jr.

It’s now been a decade since Chan opened the Jackie Chan Science Centre at the Australian National University in Canberra, which is in the Australian Capital Territory about 150 miles southwest of Sydney.