Thousands submit on gambling venue policies in Auckland

Fuseworks Ltd.

More than 9,500 submissions have been received on Auckland Council’s proposed policies on TAB and pokie venues.

Submissions closed on 28 February for the council’s draft New Zealand Racing Board (TAB) Venue Policy and draft Class 4 Gambling (Pokie) Venue Policy.

"It’s great to see so many people taking the time to make their views known on the subject of gambling," says Councillor Cathy Casey, Chair of the council’s Social and Community Development Forum.

"We identified the need to minimise gambling-related harm in the Auckland Plan. These two policies are a way we can achieve that. It is clear from the number of submissions that our communities care very much about gambling in Auckland."

Submissions from across region have come from a wide variety of individuals and groups including sports clubs, community groups, anti-gambling organisations and gaming trusts.

The law requires all councils to have policies on whether to allow new TAB or Class 4 venues in their area. These new policies will replace those of the seven former Auckland councils.

Auckland Council has proposed:

Draft Board (TAB) Venue Policy:

- One set of rules for Auckland

- Cap the number of standalone TAB venues at 43

- No restrictions on where new venues can be located other than the requirements of the district (unitary) plan.

Draft Class 4 Gambling (Pokie) Venue Policy

- One set of rules for Auckland

- A region-wide sinking lid policy for class 4 venues, so when a venue closes another one could not open, reducing the number of venues over time

- Club venues (eg: service or sports clubs with pokie machines) will not be able to increase gaming machine numbers

- If two clubs merge, the number of machines at the new venue is restricted to no more than five-sixths of the combined total prior the merger.

Councils have no authority to regulate gambling at casinos, Lotto outlets, internet gambling or distribution of proceeds from pokie machines.

Public hearings will be held in the next few months and the new policies adopted soon after.