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Aucklanders speak out about pokie machines

Aucklanders speak out about pokie machines in their city

Thousands of Aucklanders are having their say to keep the number of pokie machines down in their city.

Over four thousand written submissions were presented to Auckland City Councillors yesterday, 5 November; the closing date for public submissions on the council’s gambling venue policy.

Problem Gambling Foundation CEO, Graeme Ramsey says it is great to see so many people have had their say and it reflects the level of concern in the community about pokie machines.

“Pokie machines are the most harmful form of gambling and most of these machines are located in poorer areas targeting the most vulnerable communities,” he says.

The Problem Gambling Foundation wants the Auckland City Council to keep its sinking lid policy but a new draft gambling venue policy proposes the Council adjusts its sinking lid approach to allow relocations of machines and/or venues.

Graeme Ramsey says a ‘true’ sinking lid policy means the number of venues and machines are ‘capped’ and automatically reduce when venues close or relocate.

“We want to see a sinking lid policy and the number of pokie machines reduced,” he says.

“While we are not anti-gambling, we are anti pokie machines – they are a dangerous product and Auckland doesn’t need any more of them.”

In Auckland City alone there are 1451 pokie machines in 110 venues.

The public have been able to make submissions on the draft policy between 5 October and 5 November 2009.

Submitters will also be given the opportunity to present verbal submissions to a Hearings Panel in November 2009. The Hearings Panel will then write a report outlining the submissions received and recommend a final gambling venue policy to Council by March 2010.

ENDS

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