Gambling policy review a controversial issue
The contentious issue around gambling policy will hit full steam tomorrow morning when South Waikato District Council hears verbal submissions as part of its Gambling Policy Review 2013.
The submissions hearing, which begins at 9.30am inside council chambers, will hear from eight submitters including the Salvation Army Tokoroa’s Colin Bridle, Pockets 8 Ball’s Wendy Cook and Alan Mycroft from Tokoroa Cosmopolitan Club.
Council is required to review its policy on Class 4 Gambling and TAB Board Venues every three years. It was last reviewed in 2009 and approved to begin in April 2010.
In March of this year Council agreed that it was appropriate that the existing Class 4 Gambling and TAB Board Venue Policy be retained for this review.
This signalled that Council intended to continue with the sinking lid regime, which means that if a venue closes down for a period of six months or more, Council would not reissue a site approval for that venue.
Objectives included controlling and further limiting the number of Class 4 venues operating in the district.
Since the last review in 2010, the number of Class 4 venues operating in the district has decreased from 13 to 12 and the number of gaming machines has decreased from 189 to 178.
The public consultation process began in April of this year where a total of 16 submissions were received. Of the 16 submissions, 10 submissions were in support of the policy and six opposed.
Council’s Environmental Health manager John Anderson concluded that weight of public opinion and the collective wisdom of council has determined that there is harm attributed to Class 4 and TAB gambling.
He went on to say that council declared its position of limiting and reducing the number of venues by putting in place a sinking lid regime. He acknowledged that any beneficial changes would take time from the creation of the sinking lid regime in 2010.
South Waikato District Council has given the recommendation that the existing Gambling Class 4 and Racing Board Venue Policy be adopted.
The first submitter will speak at 9.45am tomorrow.