Sinking lid policy tempts committee
A ‘sinking lid’ condition on gaming machines in the Queenstown Lakes District is tempting but will not be pursued - for now.
Queenstown Lakes District Council is currently reviewing its policy to regulate the growth and location of non-casino electronic gaming machines and Totalisator Agency Board (TAB) gambling within the district.
An amendment to the current policy to prevent new gambling venues to be established in residential zones was adopted by the council’s community and services committee at a meeting on Wednesday. The committee was also asked to consider a sinking lid option.
The addition of the new condition banning new gambling venues from residential zones will allow for ‘‘an element of protection to expanding residential areas, and should not raise any concerns from any existing premises in the district, including the one venue that is currently in a residential area’’, a report to the committee said.
Chairman Scott Stevens said it was not appropriate for gaming to be spread throughout the region’s residential areas.
‘‘In the new world we live in, more subdivisions, and the council is looking to enable commercial precincts within those residential areas - and that may or may not include licensed premises, I don’t really think it is appropriate for gaming to be spread out through our residential areas.’’
Stevens said he was ‘‘intrigued’’ by the sinking lid policy, however he did not think it was possible ‘‘at this stage’’.
The council had requested more information about the sinking lid policy from the Department of Internal Affairs, however the department’s response was too ‘‘vague’’, he said.
‘‘I note that policy is reviewed reasonably frequently and that will give us the opportunity to see the effect of the residential addition and potentially look at this again. I was tempted by option three which was to add a sinking lid condition but without relevant information I don’t think that is possible at this stage.’’
The department estimates between one quarter and one third of the 67 territorial authorities nationwide were operating a sinking lid policy.
The review of the policy will go out for public consultation this month.