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Council raises the bar with proposed pokies policy


Hamilton City Council raises the bar with proposed “gold standard” pokies policy

The Problem Gambling Foundation (PGF) applauds Hamilton City Council on its proposed pokies policy and urges Hamiltonians to have their say.

The Council is currently reviewing its Class 4 (pokies in pubs and clubs) gambling venue policy and is proposing a sinking lid policy, but it is strengthened by not allowing any relocations or venue mergers.

Andrée Froude, PGF spokesperson, says the Council’s proposal is the gold standard of pokie policies.

“The Council’s two policy options are sinking lid policies meaning no new pokies will be permitted at a Class 4 venue, but the proposed policy will not permit a venue to relocate with its pokies to another site, or permit clubs with pokies to merge,” she said.

In 2018 Hamilton City lost nearly $25 million in the 424 pokies located in the 28 pubs and clubs in the City. Fifteen of the 28 pokie venues are located in areas with a “very high” deprivation rating.

The amount that went back into the City in the form of grants from pokie trusts between January 2018 and March 2019 was approximately $7.2 million.

Andrée Froude said with SkyCity Hamilton Casino’s application to deploy 60 additional pokie machines in substitution for three BlackJack tables currently before the Gambling Commission, the need for a strong and effective policy on pokies in Hamilton pubs and clubs is vital.

“The Council has signalled its stance on pokies by proposing a strong sinking lid policy for pokies in pubs and clubs and for its opposition to SkyCity’s moves to increase the number of pokies in its casino,” she said.

“Although casino pokies are outside the scope of the Council’s gambling policy review, the Council has given a strong message that it doesn’t want any more pokies in Hamilton City.”

“Sinking lid policies don’t go far enough, but it is the best policy we have available to gradually reduce the numbers of these addictive machines in our communities. Hamilton City Council have raised the bar with its proposed policy, and we hope other councils around the country will do the same.”

Have your say on Hamilton City Council’s gambling policy review. Submissions close 17 June 2019.

https://haveyoursay.hamilton.govt.nz/strategy-research/proposed-class-4-gambling-venue-policy-2019/

If you, or anyone close to you, has a gambling problem, free and confidential help and support is available www.pgf.nz

Ends

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