For immediate release
Community Participation Urged in the Waikato District Council’s Upcoming Gaming Machine Policy Review
Sports clubs and community groups are being urged to have their say at the upcoming Waikato District Council gambling venue policy review. Clubs and community groups currently receive approximately $3.6 million a year from the gaming machines located in the district’s 19 gaming venues.
The gaming funding generated is used to support sports clubs such as Taupiri Rugby Football Club and Huntly Gymnastics; Waka Ara; the local beach lifeguard service; local schools; and the local rescue helicopter service. 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 “say it” link on the home page of the Waikato District Council’s website. Submissions close 13 August 2018.
Mr Robertson’s own submission asks council to replace the sinking lid with a cap at current numbers (243 gaming machines). His submission also asks council to continue to enable 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)1 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.
24 July 2018
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 also represented by the Association, via their membership of Clubs New Zealand, the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association, and Hospitality New Zealand.