Targeting gambling-related harm
A campaign aiming to encourage people to reject more pokie machines coming to Auckland is under way.
The Auckland Council has opened up consultation on its draft TAB and pokie machines policies and wants feedback from citizens.
The two draft policies propose reducing gamblingrelated harm by limiting the spread of venues with electronic gaming machines and TAB venues.
The law requires all New Zealand councils to have policies on whether to allow new TAB venues which house pokies in their area.
Auckland Council’s draft New Zealand Racing Board (TAB) Venue Policy and its draft Class 4 Gambling (pokie) Venue Policy are proposals set to replace the policies of Auckland’s seven former councils.
Auckland has 43 standalone TAB venues and 305 pokie machine venues housing more than 4000 elec- tronic gaming machines.
The council wants to cap the number of TABs at the present 43 and implement a region-wide sinking lid policy for pokie machine venues.
This would mean when one venue closes another one could not open, reducing the number of venues over time.
Social and Community Development Forum chairwoman Cathy Casey says the Auckland plan identifies the need to minimise gambling-related harm.
‘‘These policies are a tangible way to achieve that.’’
The No More Pokies campaign is being run by the Problem Gambling Foundation. Its national manager of public health Tony Milne says a sinking lid is the best option under present law to keep pokie machine numbers down in Auckland.
‘‘A sinking lid means no new licenses can be granted for pokie venues and machines can’t be trans- ferred if a venue closes. That means that over time the number of venues and pokie machines will reduce.’’
Mr Milne says both Manukau and Waitakere city councils had adopted sinking lid policies and it would be great to see Auckland Council follow their lead.
‘‘We don’t want any more pokie machines in Auckland,’’ he says.
‘‘They aren’t just a less flutter’.
‘‘Pokies are dangerous and addictive machines often described as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’,’’ he says.
The proposals and submission forms can be obtained from Auckland Libraries, service centres and local board offices or by phoning council’s customer service centre on 09 301 0101.
To view the campaign video and make a submission visit NoMore Pokies.org.nz.
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