The city of Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island has decided not to relax its current gambling and TAB regulation policies after protests from anti-gambling campaigners.
New Zealand.- The city of Christchurch has finally decided not to change its current policy regulating gambling and TAB venues after anti-gambling campaigners asked authorities to retain restrictions on pokies and gambling venues.
The decision has been criticised by the Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand, which had asked authorities to ease the existing regulations. Jarrod True, on behalf of the association, asked the city council to conduct public consultations before deciding to stick to the current poker machine policy.
True had asked the committee to replace the existing sinking lid policy with a more lenient regime. He also called on authorities to allow operators to transfer their poker machine licences to other locations.
Currently, there are 82 clubs and bar gambling venues in Christchurch, with a total of 1,291 slot machines in operation. The number of pokies has decreased when compared to the 2,158 poker machines that were in operation in 2004. The number of gambling venues declined 50 per cent from 164 to 82 during the same period.
Despite the drop, the city still has more poker machines per capita than the national average, with 3.3 machines per 1,000 residents in Christchurch. It’s followed by the cities of Dunedin and Wellington with a national average of 2.9 pokie machines per 1,000 residents, while Auckland has 1.9 poker machines per 1,000 residents.
Christchurch accounts for 8 per cent of the total population of New Zealand, and in 2020, but 10 per cent of those receiving treatment for gambling addiction.