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Moratorium on new gaming machines in the City

New policy places moratorium on new gaming machines in the City

Christchurch City Councillors today unanimously voted to adopt a new Class 4 Gaming Venue and TAB policy.

The new policy
- places a moratorium on the establishment of new class 4 venues in Christchurch,
- allows for the establishment of new Board (TAB) venues in Christchurch,

Councillor Sue Wells, who chairs the Council’s Regulatory and Consents Committee, says that in the days before today’s meeting, she received an astounding level of support for her committee’s recommendation to the Council.

“We received an unprecedented number of emails and letters from other organisations and the public at large – all encouraging the adoption of our policy”.

An email received from a manager at Canterbury District Health Board is typical of the type of support received, says Wells

The letter reads “Problem gambling is a public health issue of increasing importance for Christchurch… the policy is a key health document. A moratorium on new gaming machines is a very responsible and positive step to the health issues raised by the recent proliferation of gambling machines in the city”.

A moratorium on the number and location of gaming machines is consistent with other city councils’ approach, most of which have set caps below the current levels.

However, the policy passed today by the Christchurch City Council is one of the strongest statements made by a Council, says Wells.

Christchurch City has one of the largest collections of gaming machines in the country, and one of the highest ratios of gaming machines to residents of New Zealand cities. The TAB has 10 board venues in Christchurch.

Under the central government’s Gambling Act 2003 (which came into force in mid September last year), the Council was required to introduce a policy on class 4 venues and a policy on TAB venues by March 18th 2004. It was required to consult with the public before finalising the policy. Over the nine week consultation period, which ended in January 2004, 102 written submissions were received.

ENDS

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