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Media Statement - Gisborne District Council Gambling Venue Policy Review


Community Participation Urged in the Gisborne District Council’s Upcoming Gaming Machine Policy Review

Sports clubs and community groups are being urged to have their say at the upcoming Gisborne District Council gambling venue policy review.  Clubs and community groups currently receive approximately $4.35 million a year from the gaming machines located in the district’s 12 gaming venues.

The gaming funding generated is used to support sports clubs such as Gisborne Netball and Poverty Bay Kayak Club; community organisations such as Gisborne Riding for the Disabled; local marae including the Rangiwaho Marae; local schools including Gisborne Boys High School, Awapuni School and Mangapapa School; and even the local mountain bike trails.  Bruce Robertson, representing a gaming industry group, stated that although these organisations find the funding extremely valuable, there is little publicity around the benefit that comes from gaming grants. Mr Robertson urged community groups to make a submission to council detailing what they have been able to achieve with the funding obtained. Submissions can be made on the policy by clicking the “have your say” link on the home page of the Gisborne District Council’s website.  Submissions close 9 April 2019.

Mr Robertson’s own submission noted that the time has come to consider replacing the sinking lid with a cap at current numbers (12 venues, 180 gaming machines), given the significant measures that are now in place to minimise the harm from gaming machines.  All six of New Zealand Community Trust’s Gisborne venues have facial recognition technology installed to assist with monitoring and enforcing problem gambling exclusion orders.

Mr Robertson’s submission also asks council to retain the existing relocation provisions that enable gaming venues to move to new, modern premises, to move to buildings that have a higher earthquake rating, and to move if the current landlord is imposing unreasonable terms.

Mr Robertson warned that erosion of the community funding infrastructure was leading to more and more grant applications being declined, due to a lack of available funds for distribution.  

The New Zealand National Gambling Study: Wave 3 (2014) noted that the problem gambling rate had remained the same over the previous 10-15 years, despite gaming machine numbers decreasing.  

Mr Robertson also warned that any further reduction in the local gaming machine offering may also lead to a migration of the gambling spend to offshore internet- and mobile-based offerings.  While it is illegal to advertise overseas gambling in New Zealand, it is not illegal to participate in gambling on an overseas-based website or mobile phone application. Mr Robertson commented that offshore-based online gambling poses considerable risks because it is highly accessible, being available 24 hours a day from the comfort and privacy of your home. In contrast to gaming venues, offshore-based online gambling does not generate any community funding for New Zealanders, no tax revenue is generated for the New Zealand Government, and no contributions are made to problem gambling treatment providers via the problem gambling levy.

19 March 2019

Media contact:

Bruce Robertson
Independent Chair
Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand 
027 440 0650

The Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand represents the vast majority of the gaming machine societies that operate in New Zealand.  Clubs, and venue operators are represented by their membership of Hospitality New Zealand.

Source: GMANZ