The district of Selwyn plans to limit the number of gaming machines to 124.
New Zealand.- Another New Zealand district aims to limit the number of gaming machines, or “pokies”. Selwyn District Council’s draft Gambling Venue Policy 2022 proposes limiting the number of pokies to 124. The policy has been passed for consultation.
The limit proposed is the number of currently approved machines in the district, which basically means that no additional machines would be able to be approved and that the number would remain flat. Billy Charlton, District Council supervision manager, said the number of slot machines in Selwyn had increased by more than 40 per cent since 2015 and that an application to add nine gaming machines at a new venue had recently been rejected.
He told Star News: “A significant portion of expenditure on gaming machines comes from at-risk gamblers.”
A recent survey showed that among the 644 people who responded, about 70 per cent were opposed to an increase in the number of gaming machines and 58 per cent think that gambling harms the community. The consultation will run until February.
Mackenzie Council reduces the number of slot machines
In June, Mackenzie Council approved a proposal to reduce the number of slot machines in the district. The process means that when a gambling venue closes it cannot be replaced by another, so the number of slots in the district will gradually be reduced.
According to local media reports, the Mackenzie District has only 36 gambling machines in operation and the council is processing consent applications for another nine. The limit is currently 65.