A new gambling bill is currently before Parliament. The Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3) could mean big changes for pokie venues and societies - and for our communities.
The changes are meant to increase transparency, reduce conflicts, and simplify the means in which pokie societies and venues can comply with the law. It does not address any of the Gambling Act’s problem gambling harm minimisation aspects.
3 Reasons To Make A Submission:
1. Problem gambling is not improving in NZ
Recent surveys have shown that while gambling participation is declining in NZ the rate of problem gambling and therefore its impact on New Zealand communities is remaining static. As the vast majority of gambling harm is directly related to Class 4 gambling (pokies etc) there is a strong case for the immediate introduction of further consumer protection measures particularly given the poor state of host responsibility practice in New Zealand.
A recommendation could be that the Bill needs to include harm minimisation measures.
2. Gambling venue licences could be extended to three years rather than 18 months
In recent times the Department of Internal Affairs (the regulator) has shifted from an approach described as “inform and persuade” to a more rigorous compliant regime. This increased compliance examination has highlighted inconsistent and corrupt practices in venues claiming costs. If the regulator is only ‘checking up’ once every 3 years, the possibility for corrupt practices is increased.
3. Regulation changes could allow pokie venues to earn commission. This could incentivise venues to encourage more gambling.
Currently pokie venues can claim reasonable costs to operate pokies, regardless of whether or not they are used. A commission-based model would tie venue payments to the amount of money that the public loses in the venue’s machines. This could incentivise venues to maximise revenue and therefore act against the requirements of good host responsibility and customer care. Especially when a large proportion of revenue is derived from at-risk or problem gamblers.
Other recommendations could be that a flat fee is calculated. This would remove any competition for venues, create a level playing field and be simple to administer.