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Council wants to strike a balance

12 July 2018

Council wants to strike a balance between minimising harm and allowing for responsible gambling

Waikato District Council wants to align its Gambling Venues Policy with other local authorities and gradually reduce the number of pokie machines in its district.

“In line with many other councils in New Zealand, we support the gradual reduction of Class 4 gambling venues in our district, over time,” says Customer Support General Manager, Sue O’Gorman.

Class 4 is gambling that involves a gaming machine (aka ‘pokies’). Pokies are run by societies or clubs and a proportion of the net proceeds collected from these machines are distributed back into communities or to a club’s approved purpose/s.

Under Government legislation Council is required to have a policy that specifies where Class 4 gambling venues or standalone TAB venues can be established.

“Our Gambling Venues Policy is intended to minimise potential harm caused by this type of gambling and we are required to review it every three years.”

At the moment there are 19 Class 4 venues operating in the Waikato district, with a total of 243 pokie machines. There are currently no standalone TABs.

“We believe a ‘sinking lid’ mandate provides an appropriate balance between permitting responsible gambling and minimising potential harm in our communities as the result of gambling. To reflect this, Council is proposing making some changes to its policy and we are asking the public for their feedback.”

In the proposed policy, relocation of a Class 4 venue would not be allowed unless the current venue was physically incapable of being used, for example through fire, and in these circumstances there will be a range of criteria that they will have to meet in order to relocate. For example, they would not be allowed within 100m of another Class 4 venue or to be located near kindergartens, early childhood centres, schools, places of worship or community facilities.

Other changes include introducing new criteria around merging venues.

The public will have until 11 August 2018 to provide feedback. For more information visit www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/sayit


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