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Moratorium On Gaming Machines Rejected

Media Release From The Gaming Machine Association Of New Zealand

Calls by Consumer Affairs Minister Phillida Bunkle and the Compulsive Gambling Society for a moratorium on the importation of any more gaming machines, have been rejected by the Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand as being unwarranted and ineffective.

The Minister claims that the value of gaming machines imported in the last twelve months has doubled to nearly $40 million dollars. Chairman of the Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand Roger Parton said that the increase reflects several factors.

“The first is that during the period new casinos opened. Secondly, the price of machines has gone up. The third factor is the deteriorating value of the New Zealand dollar since the last election.”

“Fourthly is the overseas experience such as in New South Wales with over 100,000 machines where a moratorium was put in place. Operators here see what has happened in NSW, hear statements such as that made by the Minister and then make a decision to obtain as many machines as possible before a limit is put in place”, Mr Parton said. “If effect, statements by the Minister could be seen as fuelling panic buying”.

“Currently, there is an average of 8 gaming machines on each of the nearly 2,200 hotels and club sites in New Zealand,” said Mr Parton “and that is very low by international standards.

Mr Parton said it should be remembered that not all new imported machines are additional. Many are to replace older models that lack player appeal and therefore reduce the returns to the machines. “The Department of Internal Affairs which regulate machines require that club and hotel operators give at least 33% of the gross profits back to the community.

“On smaller sites with a few machines, the cost of licences etc means that the operator has to push the machines to ensure there is sufficient turnover to meet the Department’s requirement and meet the fixed costs” he said.

Restricting the number of machines will not reduce gambling as such a practice distorts the gambling trends said Mr Parton. NSW has over 100,000 gaming machines yet the turnover is similar to Victoria where there is a cap on 30,000 machines.

“Gaming machines are just a part of the gambling industry in New Zealand,” said Mr Parton. “To be fair, the Minister and CGS must also call for a moratorium on any more Lotto outlets, racing days, TAB outlets or increase in machines and tables in casinos.”

ENDS

Contact Roger Parton 0-4-499 7220 (24 Hours)

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