1 pokie machine for every 118 kiwis
15 months after new gambling laws in place – 1 pokie machine for every 118 kiwis
The latest figures from around New Zealand show that the new Gambling Act has been largely ineffective to date in curbing the numbers of pokie machines, with a drop of less than 2% in machine numbers, and with more than one-third of the cities and districts actually recording an increase in machine numbers.
Gambling reform group GamblingWatch has issued a full comparison of machine numbers at 31st December 2005, compared with those on the date the Act was introduced (September 22, 2003), and calculated the ratio of the adult population per machine in every area.
The figures show that 25,063 pokie machines were licensed at the start of the year, a drop of only 401 in the 15-month period (or 1.5%), despite strong evidence showing that about 90% of people presenting with gambling addiction problems had cited pokie machines – in bars and casinos – as the primary cause of their problem.
GamblingWatch co-ordinator Dave Macpherson said the figures “come on the back of a massive increase in pokie numbers prior to that date, and a huge increase in losses on the pokies for several years in a row.”
“It is clear that the new law, which includes provision for local councils to control new pokie sites in their areas, has not had the desired effect in significantly reducing gambling and its associated problems – principally because the Government has allowed most pokie sites to escape the new restrictions.”
Of the 74 local authority areas, 25 have actually recorded increases in pokie machine numbers, with a further seven showing no reduction (see list below).
Still ‘leading the pack’ for 3 years is Kaikoura District, with 1 pokie machine for every 48 local residents, followed by Kawerau (1:60) and Queenstown-Lakes (1:62).
On the ‘honour roll’ is Selwyn District at a ratio of 1:317, who also recorded a 31% reduction in pokie numbers over the 15 months, and the Chatham Islands (1:273).
Local Authorities showing pokie number increases since the new Act took effect:
Matamata-Piako up 35% to 198 pokies Kapiti
up 8% to 228
up 32% to 83
Nelson up 8% to 341
Papakura up 24%
Horowhenua up 7% to 210
Otorohanga up 24% to
Otago up 6% to 164
Hurunui up 23% to
Tasman up 6% to 228
Upper Hutt up 22% to
Waikato up 5% to 197
Whakatane up 18%
up 4% to 120
North Shore up 17%
Wellington up 4% to 1,024
Franklin up 15% to
Western Bay up 3% to 187
Waitakere up 11% to
Hastings up 2% to 380
Ashburton up 10% to
Hauraki up 8% to 160
Invercargill up 9% to
Palmerston North up 2% to 481
Dunedin up 8% to 1,001
Copy of full analysis attached, or available from http://www.gamblingwatch.org.nz/index.asp?pageID=2145830938