$781,000 in Community Funding, 1 Problem Gambler Seeks Treatment: No Need to Impose New Restrictions in Rangitikei District’s Gambling Venue Policy
The Rangitikei District Council is currently reviewing its gambling venue policy. The current policy caps gaming machine numbers at 83. Council is considering whether to retain the current cap or introduce a more restrictive sinking lid policy.
The Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand (GMANZ) is urging council to retain the current cap and to introduce a policy that allows existing venues to relocate.
GMANZ spokesperson Bruce Robertson asked that a balanced, evidence-based decision be made. The evidence does not support the introduction of a sinking lid policy. There is no direct correlation between gaming machine numbers and problem gambling rates. Over the last ten years, the problem gambling rate has remained the same, despite gaming machine numbers declining rapidly (4,618 gaming machines have been removed from the New Zealand market).
In 2003, the Rangitikei District had 120 gaming machines. The district currently only has 83 gaming machines (a 31% reduction).
The Ministry of Health keeps a record of the number of people in each territorial authority that seek help via phone, text, email or the face-to-face counselling services that are available. The most recent available data (the year from July 2017 to June 2018) shows that only 1 new person from the Rangitikei District sought help for problem gambling.
Playing a gaming machine at one of the local gaming venues is, however, a popular form of entertainment, which generates over $781,000 annually in community funding.
The gaming funding generated is used to support sports clubs such as Taihape Rugby & Sports Club; community organisations such as the Marton Rotary Club and Project Marton; local schools including Whangaehu School and South Makirikiri School; and organisations such as the Marton & District Pipe Band and Scottish Society.
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.
Mr Robertson urged community groups to make submissions to council detailing what they have been able to achieve with the funding obtained. Submissions can be made on the policy by clicking the gambling venue policy consultation link on council’s website. Submissions close 28 October 2019.
16 October 2019
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.