Two district councils in Wairarapa are considering increasing restrictions on any new gambling venues and machines.
New Zealand.- The councils of Carterton and Masterton, in Wairarapa, are to consider the implementation of stricter gambling regulations. A report proposes a prohibition on gambling machine venues in the most economically disadvantaged areas outside of main town centres, a ban on new TABs (Totalisator Agency Boards) and heightened restrictions on the introduction of new poker machines.
According to Wairarapa Times Age, the report warns of a growing issue of gambling harm in Wairarapa, particularly among the most financially vulnerable communities. Despite a decrease in the number of gambling venues and poker machines, gambling expenditure has exhibited a slow but steady rise since 2015.
While official statistics indicate a reduction in help-seeking related to gambling harm, social service agencies in Wairarapa say the problem is worsening. If the recommendations are accepted by the councils, a consultation period will take place in October and November, allowing stakeholders to contribute to the decision-making process. The South Wairarapa District Council will also consider the report.