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New Gambling P0licy Being Drawn Up By Council


New Gambling P0licy Being Drawn Up By Council

Manukau City Council is currently drawing up its new draft gambling policy in response to recent legislation requiring all councils to do so. The Gambling Act became law in September.

The policy will determine where gaming machine venues and TABs can be located and the maximum number of machines allowed at each venue.

Council has already undertaken a social impact assessment which provides information to ensure that gambling venue policies meet the objectives of the Bill, including: • ensuring that gambling is used primarily to raise funds for the community • minimising the harm caused by gambling • ensuring community involvement in decisions about the availability of gambling • controlling the growth of gambling

It is believed there are approximately 1000 gaming machines in Manukau. There has been a reduction of 154 since the law change due to the new limits imposed. The maximum number of pokies allowed at each venue is now 9. There are gaming machines at 90 sites in the city.

Between 2001 and earlier this year there was a huge rise in pokie numbers, which increased by one third. In New Zealand, gambling is now an $11 billion a year industry.

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis says the new law is a mixed bag but he is disappointed that it permits internet gambling for the first time. He believes it is bound to lead to more gambling addiction, which is already causing major social problems in the city. “To vulnerable personalities, internet gambling sites will be too hard to resist. And the gambling options are already being thrown at computer users through pop-up boxes which appear out of nowhere on screen. That makes a bad situation even worse.”

However Sir Barry says the new laws do allow for greater clarity over where the money raised for community organisations by gambling actually goes.

“There wasn’t much transparency before. Many community organisations, including sports clubs, do benefit from grants made from money raised by gambling profits. In fact without that money many sports clubs and community organisations would not exist. This funding also fills the gap caused by reduced funding from the government.”

There will be extensive consultation before the new gambling venue policy is drawn up with the public and stakeholders groups being consulted. The policy is expected to be finalised by March next year.

A workshop for individuals and groups wanting to have their say on how the policy will proceed will be held at the Papatoetoe Town Hall next Wednesday morning (12 November) starting at 9.30 am.

The workshop is part of a regional impact assessment initiative by seven councils in the Auckland region.

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