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Council Shows Leadership: Gaming Machines Are Harmful

28 February 2012: News from CPAG

While Auckland Council is considering allowing Sky City to increase the number of their electronic gaming machines (pokies) from around 1600 to over 2100, the Christchurch City Council has demonstrated some great leadership in recognising gambling as a social hazard.

The Christchurch City Council has voted to maintain their sinking lid policy. Christchurch’s earthquake-affected venues will not be able to transfer their machines to new neighbourhoods, and the machines will be gone for good.

As well as creating poverty for many families, the harm caused by pokies includes neglected children, relationship break-up, depression, domestic violence, and other gambling-related crimes. For the year to December 2011, losses on class 4 non-casino gaming machines totalled $867 million. In all, New Zealanders spent just over $2 billion dollars on gambling in the last financial year.

However, research by the Salvation Army published in The Growing Divide, 2012, reports that there has been an 18% decrease in spending on the pokies over the last 5 years. The Report links that reduced spend with a 13% reduction in the number of these machines in New Zealand’s neighbourhoods since 2006. This is what the sinking lid policy can achieve.

Child Poverty Action Group congratulates the Christchurch City Council for seizing this opportunity to create a better city. This is truly a victory for the people of Christchurch, and for the people of New Zealand.

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This Media Release is issued by Child Poverty Action Group Inc Aotearoa

The Problem Gaming Foundation, Christchurch Branch can be reached at:

The Salvation Army’s State of the Nation Report, The Growing Divide, is available at:



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