The beginning of the week saw the Kãpiti Coast District Council update its gambling policies, in an attempt to clarify the rules regarding the local club and pub operators aimed at transferring or cancelling their pokie machines licenses.
The Mayor of the district, K Gurunathan, has revealed that the changes brought by the coastal District Council to its Class 4 Gambling Policy and its TAB Venue Gambling Policy of 2011, are aimed at bringing more clarity to the conditions under which such licenses could be transferred to another venue or cancelled, and in some cases, to place more restrictions. As revealed by the Mayor, under the previous gambling policy, the Council had a very narrow view over what happened to local poker machine licenses at times when a venue operator either decided to stop operation or simply that they do not want to hold their pokie licenses any more.
On the other hand, the new policy’s approach to setting the conditions which must be met by poker machine license holders in case the latter would like to transfer their machines to another venue. Furthermore, the new gambling policy also addresses issues related to pokies’ relocation in areas of the District which are exposed to more risks of problem gambling.
Under the new rules, the District Council is set to issue a public notice to inform local communities whenever a pokie operator is willing to move their machines to another location and local voters would be provided with the chance to share their opinions on the matter.
New Poker Machine Gambling Policy Set to Protect Local Players
As revealed by Mayor K Gurunathan, the maximum number of pokies which is allowed to be placed in each community has been a major issue for consideration in the review. He further explained that each of the communities in the region has managed to keep the number of pokie machines below the permitted limits, except for only one community where numbers are higher than allowed but are gradually being reduced.
Kãpiti Coast District Council further revealed that it remains focused on keeping the caps imposed on pokies back in 2011 as part of their efforts to tackle problem gambling rates and protect vulnerable players from possible gambling-related harm. The Council further revealed that it is to address gambling venue operators and poker machine license holders in order to make sure they are all informed about the changes.
For some time, poker machines have been considered one of the main drivers of gambling addiction in New Zealand, with problem gambling rates being on the rise over the last few years. Communities across New Zealand have imposed certain restrictions on the number of the addictive machines which could be offered in local venues and on the operators which offer them in order to make sure that most vulnerable people in the society.