Draft policy targets pokie machines
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 is asking for feedback from citizens.
The two draft policies propose to reduce gamblingrelated harm by limiting the spread of venues that house electronic gaming machines and TAB venues.
The law requires councils to have policies on whether to allow new TAB venues which house pokies.
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 currently has 43 stand-alone TAB venues and 305 pokie machine venues housing more than 4000 electronic gaming machines.
The council wants to cap the number of TABs at the current number of 43, and implement a region-wide sinking lid policy for pokie machine venues.
That 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 Prob- lem Gambling Foundation.
Its national manager of public health Tony Milne says a sinking lid is the best option the council has under current legislation to keep the number of pokie machines down in Auckland.
‘‘A sinking lid means no new licences can be granted for pokie venues and machines can’t be transferred if a venue closes,’’ he says.
‘‘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 ‘harmless flutter’. Pokies are dangerous and addictive machines often described as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’.’’
The proposals and submission forms can be obtained from Auckland Libraries, service centres and local board offices, or call 09 301 0101. Submissions close at 4pm February 28.
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