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Fewer ‘pokies’ in the community

11 April 2006

Fewer ‘pokies’ in the community

The number of licensed gambling operators, venues and gaming machines are continuing to decline, according to the latest gambling licensing statistics for pubs and clubs, released today by the Department of Internal Affairs.

In the three months to March 31 2006 licence holders declined 2.5 per cent on the December 05 quarter and by 10 per cent on the year ended March 31, 2006. There were five per cent fewer gaming machines over the same 12-month period.

Licensed gambling operations in pubs and clubs
Date Licence holders Venues Gaming machines
31 March 2006 513 1721 21,026
31 December 2005 526 1747 21,343
30 September 2005

30 June 2005 553 1,801 21,846
31 March 2005 568 1838 22,159
31 December 2004 584 1,850 22,231
31 December 2003 672 2,031 22,734
30 June 20031 699 2,122 25,221
31 December 2002 729 2,137 24,330
31 December 2001 785 2,129 21,012
31 December 2000 860 2,065 17,679
1.Machine numbers peaked in the quarter before the Gambling Act was passed.

Internal Affairs Department Director of Gambling Compliance, Mike Hill, says the figures show that the Gambling Act 2003 is controlling the growth of gambling, one of the law’s purposes.

“The impact has been principally on the shape of the industry with a number of operators on the fringe, leaving the sector,” Mr Hill said. “Returns per machine are starting to grow as the sector becomes more efficient.”

Machine numbers peaked in the June 2003 quarter before the Gambling Act was passed. Since then gambling operators have declined by 27 per cent from 699 to 513 at March 06, venues are down by 19 per cent from 2122 to 1721 and there were 17 per cent fewer machines, down from 25,221 to 21,026.

Christchurch City, which now includes the Banks Peninsula District, has the most machines of any territorial authority – 2099 or almost 10 per cent of the nation’s total – with Auckland City second with 1749 machines or 8.32 per cent. But greater Auckland, which includes Waitakere, Manukau and North Shore cities makes up almost 19 per cent of the nation’s total with 3905 machines.

The Gambling Act 2003 introduced a much stricter licensing regime and reduced limits on the numbers of machines allowed in venues. In general, venues licensed at 17 October 2001 can have up to 18 machines, while others can have up to nine. The Act also gave communities a say, through their local authorities, which can make policies preventing or limiting new venues and controlling the expansion of existing venues.

Further information, including numbers of venues and machines by territorial authority and the changes in these numbers, is available from the Department’s website:


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