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Uneven regional response to new pokie laws

GamblingWatch News Release
The New Zealand Coalition for Gambling Reform


30th September 2006

Uneven regional response to new pokie laws

The latest pokie machine figures show that the Gambling Act, introduced 3 years ago (22/9/03) has had an uneven effect on machine numbers across the country.

Analysis of the figures by gambling issues lobby group, GamblingWatch shows that all regions have seen a drop in pokie numbers, but some by only a very small amount compared with the nationwide 10.1% decrease over 3 years.

“In particular, Southland and Waikato regions have had only a minimal reduction in pokies of less than 4%,” said the group’s co-ordinator Dave Macpherson.

“Some localities within those regions have actually recorded significant increases in pokies. It is obvious that the stated aim of the Act – to control the growth of gambling and to prevent and minimize harm caused by it – is not working particularly well in some areas."

“On the other hand, we are pleased that some regions of high pokie concentration, such as the West Coast and Northland, are showing decreases significantly ahead of the national average."

“It is clear that community concern over the harmful effects of pokie machine gambling is having an affect in those areas,” said Mr Macpherson Pokie machines are cited by almost 90% of people presenting for gambling addiction treatment as the primary cause of their gambling problem.

REGIONAL POKIE MACHINE BREAKDOWN - figures at 30 Sept, 2006 (30 June ‘03 in brackets)

Region No. of Pokies Population per pokie No. of pokie sites Average no. of pokies per site % decrease in Pokies over 3 years

West Coast Region 290 (342) 1 pokie to 105 (90)
people 32 (57) 11.0 (6.0) -15.2
Otago Region* 1,499 (1592) 1 to 133(122) 123 (148) 12.2 (10.8) -5.8
Waikato Region* 2,536 (2,640) 1 to 145 (136) 170 (186) 14.9 (14.2) -3.9
Canterbury Region* 3,402 (3,712) 1 to 155(137) 235 (283) 14.5 (13.1) -8.5
Hawkes Bay Region 964 (1,039) 1 to 155 (143) 72 (85) 13.4 (12.2) -7.2
Marlborough Region 298 (344) 1 to 157 (132) 24 (33) 12.4 (10.4) -13.4
Bay of Plenty Region 1,639 (1,739) 1 to 162 (148) 121 (139) 13.5 (12.5) -5.0
Manawatu-Wanganui Region 1,374 (1,509) 1 to 164 (151) 112 (142) 12.3 (10.6) -8.9
Southland Region 550 (582) 1 to 168 (161) 59 (77) 9.3 (7.6) -3.7
Taranaki Region 622 (692) 1 to 169 (153) 61 (75) 10.2 (9.2) -10.1
Northland Region 829 (968) 1 to 180 (151) 78 (88) 10.6 (11.0) -14.4
New Zealand (incl. casinos) 22,897 (25,464) 1 to 181 (157) 1,682 (2,023) 13.6 (12.6) -10.1
Tasman/Nelson Region 480 (530) 1 to 195 (168) 45 (47) 10.7 (11.3) -9.4
Gisborne Region 225 (245) 1 to 198(184) 16 (20) 14.1 (12.3) -8.2
Wellington Region 2,294 (2,503) 1 to 203 (180) 178(199) 12.9 (12.6) -8.3
Auckland Region* 6,401 (6,974) 1 to 215 (187) 353 (423) 18.1 (16.5) -8.2

NB. 2001 Census figures were used to arrive at 30/6/03 population ratios; while 2006 population estimates from Statistics NZ were used for the 30/9/06 ratios) * Casino pokies included in these totals

ENDS

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