Thank you to everyone who took the time to give us feedback on our Class 4 Gambling and TAB Venues policy. After public submissions were heard, the Community, Culture and Regulatory Hearings Committee has recommended that officers modify the Class 4 Gambling Venues policy to include a sinking lid policy. This means no new venue licences will be granted and no new machine licences will be granted. This will go to the CCR Committee meeting on 26 April for a recommendation to Council.
The Gambling Act 2003 requires each Territorial Authority (TA) to review both its Class 4 Gambling and TAB Venues Policy every three years. Class 4 gambling venues operate gambling machines often referred to as pokies. It is very important to give all concerned (community, industry and other interested parties) a chance to feedback on the policies.
After reviewing the policies, Council have proposed the following options.
TAB Venues Policy
Class 4 Gambling Policy
Option 1: Status quo: Council chooses not to amend the policy
To keep the ‘Status Quo’ would mean that the policy would not change, and that the maximum limit of 140 gaming machines, and 22 venues and other restrictions (such as where in the district a venue may be established) would stay the same.
Option 2: Sinking lid policy (no new venue licenses will be given in Waitaki District).
Under this option no new Class 4 licenses will to be granted by Waitaki District Council. Venues’ licences would not be allowed to be transferred to another location, and once a Class 4 venue is closed it cannot be reopened by another operator.
Option 3: Sinking lid policy (no new machine licences will be given in the Waitaki District)
Under this option once the number of machines licenced to operate in a community decreases, council will not issue any other society a licence to replace those machines.
The purpose of options 2 and 3, is to prevent new gaming machine venues from opening, and to reduce the numbers of gaming venues and machines in the District over time.
Amendments to the Policy
Under these options, Council’s Class 4 Gaming Policy would be amended through the addition of a section prohibiting any new venues from being established, or replacement machine licences being granted in the District.
How it would work
Under a sinking lid policy, venues cannot relocate, and no new licences would be issued. This means that the number of gaming venues may reduce over time, as new venue licences will not be given.
It should be noted, however, that Section 98 of the Gambling Act states that territorial consent is only required for a venue if it has not been held by a public society for more than 6 months. Therefore, under this option a venue operator could get consent to take over an existing venue that had been closed for less than 6 months. This significantly undermines the effectiveness of a sinking lid policy.
Read the full draft policies and Statement of Proposal:
Statement of Proposal Class 4 Gambling and TAB Venues Policy(PDF, 500KB)
A few frequently asked questions are below:
Class 4 Gambling Frequently Asked Questions*
Will implementing a sinking lid policy hinder district-wide development?
Gambling has been associated with increased government revenue and overall economic growth on a national scale as Central Government earns revenue from gambling. At the local and territorial level, the economic benefits are less clear cut. A few gambling industry funded studies report a beneficial relationship between employment and wage impacts in casino-hosting regions overseas. The positive impact on employment and earnings appears to last only for about 5 years and is limited to the hospitality and entertainment sector. This is with casinos though, and not the Class 4 type of gambling venues.
Conversely, other research studies argue that the losses offer a sharp contrast to any local economic gains. They report that money for gambling is diverted from savings and/or other expenditure and can have a negative impact on local businesses and the economic health and welfare of whole communities. The reports suggest that even in instances where gambling creates employment opportunities, a comparison of gambling and retail in terms of jobs created for every million dollars spent shows that gambling creates about half as many jobs as retail. They further argue that any jobs and economic activity generated by gambling expenditure are easily replaced and would exist elsewhere if that money was spent outside the gambling industry.
Don’t most gamblers just have a quick flutter on the machines - a bit of bright lights and harmless fun?
Gambling is meant to be a fun and social form of entertainment. It offers the player a chance of winning but all forms of gambling are designed to pay out less than they take in. Pokie machines do this particularly well and are designed to make money for their operators. They do that by getting players to stay at them for as long as possible; but each spin will have as much chance of winning as the last one, so it doesn’t matter if you have a system, you can’t beat or cheat a Pokie machine. Rather than being harmless gimmicks, the bright lights and sounds the machines make are deliberate features designed to grab attention and pull players into the machine. While many people are able to gamble without significant or long-term impacts, there are members of our community who become addicted; and as a consequence, they (and their families) suffer from gambling related harm.
What does adopting a sinking lid mean for community and sports groups that receive funding from machine operators?
Sinking lid policies do not result in immediate or drastic cuts in funding available for community groups this is a misconception. Sinking lids are long-term strategies to balance the reduction of Pokies, and Pokie - related harm, with the need to provide funding to benefit the community. Sinking lids are policies, of attrition, venues are not forced to close or remove their Pokies it simply means if a venue closes, Pokies cannot go to another pub and no new operator’s license will be issued. There are many councils around the country with sinking lid policies which have seen no reduction in the amount of funding available because they are designed for long-term effect.
Have your say
Consultation closed on Tuesday 1 March 2022.
||Tuesday 1 February 2022
||Tuesday 1 March 2022 (by 5pm)
||22 March 2022
||22 March 2022
|Adoption of final policy
||26 April 2022