For immediate release
South Taranaki District Council Urged to Make an Evidence-Based Gambling Venue Policy Decision
The South Taranaki District Council is currently reviewing its gambling venue policy.
The Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand supports the proposed minor change to the gaming machine cap. The cap is to be set at the number of machines that are currently operating (121 machines).
Mr Robertson asked that a balanced, evidence-based decision be made. The evidence does not support a more restrictive policy being adopted. 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).
Playing a gaming machine at one of the local gaming venues is, however, a popular form of entertainment, which generates over $2.15 million annually in community funding.
The gaming funding generated is used to support sports clubs such as Athletics Hawera, Hawera BMX Club, Eltham Association Football Club, the South Taranaki Coastguard, local schools including Mokoia School, Patea Area School, and Hawera High School, and community facilities such as Opunake Community Baths (Facebook post below).
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 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 “live” link on the home page of council’s website. Submissions close 24 June 2019.
12 June 2019
Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand
027 440 0650