Pokies policy up for review

19 March 2015

Wellington City Council’s policy covering non-casino gaming machines – or pokie machines and gambling at TABs – is up for review.

Pokie machines

Our policy on pokies is up for review

Council’s Community, Sport and Recreation committee agreed to put out the draft ‘Gambling Venues Policy’ that covers the City’s obligations under the Gambling Act 2003 and Racing Act 2003.

The policy will assist in managing the risk of gambling harm created by pokies and TAB gambling and provides a framework for where gambling venues operate within the city.
Committee Chair Councillor Paul Eagle says “it’s timely to re-look at how we control the growth of gambling to minimise the harm it causes – and do what we can to prevent problem gambling”.

Recommended changes in the draft Gambling Venues policy include lowering the maximum limits so that no more than two additional venues can be established in any zone, to allow venues to relocate and take their existing entitlement of machines with them provided it is within Wellington’s central zone or within a centre in the District Plan and would be within the limit of machines in those zones.

“It is a sensitive issue in some parts of Wellington and we will work closely with those community organisations focussed on gambling harm together with the gambling machine societies and the New Zealand Racing Board”, says Councillor Eagle.

Gambling machine societies own the non-casino gambling machines. Under the Gambling Act 2003, these societies must be approved by the Department of Internal Affairs, and they must be not for profit. The Lion Foundation, NZ Community Trust and Pub Charity are the three largest of these societies.  The New Zealand Racing Board manage the TAB.

A consultation document is planned to be available on 20 April which will include details on how submissions can be made on this subject.