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Council hears views on gambling policy

Proposed changes to the way Hamilton manages pokie machines in pubs and clubs in the city attracted speakers representing around 30 organisations today.

The Council’s Regulatory and Hearings Committee met to hear verbal submissions after receiving 403 written submissions during consultation on a proposed Class 4 Gambling Policy in May and June this year.

All councils are required to have a Class 4 Gambling Policy, which specifies whether new venues are allowed and where they can be, whether venues can relocate, how many machines can be on site and what the primary use of the venue must be. The Policy does not apply to casino gaming, which is managed under different legislation.

The Council’s existing policy allows for only limited relocations and mergers. Options for the future policy were to either retain the existing, or adopt the proposed policy, which does not allow relocations or mergers.

Of the 403 submissions, 308 were on a pre-written template supporting retaining the existing policy, and the majority of those from businesses or organisations were from the sporting sector, also favouring retention of the existing policy. Gaming machine organisations and sports clubs also made up most of the verbal submitters. Five speakers representing social and health service organisations spoke in support of the proposal to not allow relocations or mergers.

Today’s meeting was to hear and consider the submissions, not to decide on the final policy. The Class 4 Gambling Venue Policy Review Deliberations Report will be presented to the Council at the 17 September 2019 meeting for a decision.

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