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Auckland City to consider impact of gambling

MEDIA RELEASE
3 November 2003

Auckland City to consider impact of gambling

Auckland City is to draft a policy to determine where gaming and TAB outlets can be located in the city.

The new policy is a requirement under the Gambling Act, which became law on 19 September. It allows councils more influence over the growth of gambling in the community.

The policy may also specify a maximum number of gaming machines at each venue.

Councillor Mark Donnelly, Chairperson of Strategy and Governance Committee, says: “It’s important that we consider how gambling is affecting our community so we can try to manage it more effectively in the future. There will also be full public consultation once the draft policy is prepared in early 2004.”

The first step toward drafting the policy is to consider the social, economic, cultural and environmental impacts that gambling has on the community. The Centre for Gambling Studies has been commissioned to prepare a regional impact assessment report, on behalf of all seven councils in the Auckland region, by January 2004.

This will involve gathering statistical data about gambling, a cost-benefit analysis, and seek input from a variety of stakeholders such as community trusts, gambling operators, business associations and problem gambling support groups.

Following the completion of the gambling impact assessment, Auckland City will begin developing a draft gambling venue policy.

Once the draft policy is completed it will then go out for public consultation in early 2004 to ensure the community gets a real say on gambling in local areas.

As part of the policy, the council could choose to reduce the number of machines at each venue, place a cap on the city as a whole, or declare some premises unsuitable for gambling.

The Gambling Act’s main objectives are to control the growth of gambling in New Zealand; prevent and minimise the harm caused by gambling; ensure community involvement in some decisions about the provisions of gambling, and ensure that gambling profits benefit the community. Research indicates that gambling on gaming machines accounts for 41 per cent of all gambling losses in New Zealand.

Ends

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