Latest Gaming Figures
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has released data showing expenditure of pub and club-based gaming machines over the last quarter (April to June 21) and for the year to June 2021. The figures reflect the continued economic rebound following the first Covid-19 lockdown. In the period, there was a return to post Covid spending levels with a continuing 3% CPI trend.
DIA figures show that Quarterly Gaming Machine Profits (GMP) were $260,617,914 in June 2021, and $986,652,226 over the past 12 months.
Peter Dengate Thrush, Chair of the Gaming Machine Association, which represents the sector responsible for gaming machines in hotels, taverns and member clubs, said that it was pleasing to see continuing economic recovery across New Zealand flowing into this form of entertainment, as it means increased funding available for New Zealand community projects.
Mr Dengate Thrush cautioned that the claims made by the Department of ‘records’ in that the figures include the significant one-off rebound in retail spending seen across the economy following the first COVID lockdown and when adjusted for inflation and population growth reflect not a record but a decline on the peak in spending set in 2004.
“To simply retain that peak level of spending would require expenditure of about 1.5 billion. Once you also factor in population growth over the period it is clear that per capita spending in the sector has declined substantially and unfortunately the total amount of community funding has also declined accordingly” he said.
Mr Dengate Thrush also cautioned that the current nation-wide lockdown has meant that revenue in this sector is currently zero, and that, coupled with the impacts of previous lockdowns over the last 18 months, means total spending over the current two-year period looks like receiving a substantial drop. This means further serious and devastating reductions in the grants available for many worthy Community Projects.
“Community organizations live in the real world and the loss of gaming revenue in 2020 and now again in 2021 will translate into reduced community grants as well as reduced tax revenue for the Government” he said.
Another major worry for New Zealand is the mostly undetected and unmonitored rate of online gambling.
“Everyone with a cell phone in their hand now has access to a range of offshore gambling options. Unlike our regulated venues, offshore options are unmanaged, not subject to NZ law, and return nothing to the New Zealand community. In addition to the Grants Program, our sector contributes over $300 million annually to the government by way of duties and GST – all of which is at risk” he said.
New Zealand is fortunate in having one of the lowest problem gambling rates in the word at 0.2% of the adult population, a number which has been stable for many years. This is still too high and GMANZ is committed to working collaboratively with all stakeholders and an increased use of technologies to provide support and better outcomes for those that need it.