Council caps pokie numbers
28 May 2004
Council responds to community by capping pokie numbers
Waitakere City has formally adopted a Gambling Venue Policy to cap the number of pokie machines at family restaurants and entertainment venues, at the existing level of 501 machines.
The Environmental Management Committee’s decision on 26 May was prompted by a clear message from the community which demanded that gambling activity should be in the hands of responsible operators, with restraints to ensure that negative social impact of gambling is minimised, says Chair Penny Hulse.
Under the new policy, gambling venue and machine numbers will be capped at existing levels for the next three years, after which it will be reviewed. Further work will be done to assess whether signs at gambling venues should be controlled and Council will support a ‘responsible gambling venue operation’, as part of the Citywide Alcohol Strategy.
“Under the Gambling Act, the Council is required to develop a policy regulating the number and location of Class Four gambling venues (pokie outlets) and the number of gambling machines in a venue,” says Councillor Hulse
Venues may also be required to hold a liquor licence as licensed venues were considered to have better systems in place to prevent underage gambling. The new by-law also includes a voluntary Code of Conduct to promote responsible venue operation and encourage gambling societies to publicly divulge their fund distribution. New restrictions have also been placed on mergers between clubs.
The new policy specifies that, in general, gambling activity adheres to Council’s strategic objectives of Sustainable Development, First Call For Children and Strong Communities A key component of the decision making process was an Auckland-wide social impact report on the impact of gambling on communities.