New Zealand’s Hutt City Council limits pokies

Hutt City Council has approved a “sinking lid” policy on games machines.
Hutt City Council has approved a “sinking lid” policy on games machines.

Hutt City Council has approved a proposal to limit the number of slot machines in the district, a measure that was supported by the Problem Gambling Foundation.

New Zealand.- The Hutt City Council has unanimously voted for a “sinking lid” policy, which means it will allow no new slot machines in the future. Nor will the council allow the establishment of any new gambling venues in buildings or facilities it owns.

Hutt City currently has 434 slot machines in 29 venues. Andrée Froude, director of marketing and communications for the Problem Gambling Foundation, praised the council’s decision, saying it had raised the bar.

According to Scoop, she said: “Not only has the Council committed to ensuring that no new venues or pokie machines can be added to the community, but under its new policy, venues will not be able to relocate or merge.”

However, she said the sinking lid policy didn’t go far enough.

She said: “Sinking lid policies rely on a venue closing and that doesn’t happen very often, and if it does, it isn’t usually in the areas where pokie numbers need to reduce.

“Many councils are feeling hamstrung that they can’t do more to reduce pokie numbers in their communities, particularly the poorer areas, and to reduce the reliance of community and sports groups on funding from pokie machines.”

Other districts plan to limit the number of gaming machines

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.

In June, Mackenzie Council also 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.

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