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Game over for many pokies Gambling Act becomes law

Game over for many pokies as Gambling Act becomes law

Figures on the potential for a drop in the numbers of pokie machines following the passing of the Gambling Act today, should allay fears of gaming machines flooding New Zealand, Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins says.

“Many operators of pokie machines now face a statutory limit of nine gaming machines on their premises, Mr Hawkins said.

Analysis of where pokie machines now operate show many districts could lose machines in their area.

“These range from 245 in Auckland City and 153 in Manukau City, to 110 in Christchurch, 84 in Tauranga, 80 in Hamilton, 60 in Dunedin, 54 in Wellington, 50 in Palmerston North and 48 each in Whangarei and Rotorua,” Mr Hawkins said.

Smaller districts, such as Ashburton and Horowhenua which could each lose five machines, could also be affected.

Potentially the country could see pokie machine numbers fall by 1416, Mr Hawkins said. Under the new legislation, venues must have territorial authority consent to increase the number of gaming machines on their sites.

Territorial authorities will be required to develop policy on the location of gaming machine venues and can limit the number of machines at venues to below the nine machine statutory maximum.

If local authorities used the new powers contained within the Bill, total numbers could fall even further, Mr Hawkins said.

The Act also allows a cap to be placed on the maximum number of gaming machines in the country, or within any region in New Zealand, by regulation.

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