Money spent on slots outside of casinos in New Zealand reached NZ$252m (US$178m) during the fourth quarter.
New Zealand.- The Department of Internal Affairs has reported that spending on pokies (slot machines) reached NZ$252m (US$178m) in the period from October to December 2020.
That’s the highest quarterly spend since the Department of Internal Affairs began keeping records in 2007. It’s equivalent of every adult spending NZ$204,
Overall annual gambling profits in New Zealand were down by $128m due to Covid-19 restrictions in pubs, clubs, and casinos, while lottery saw a 13 per cent increase in revenue year-on-year to NZ$631m.
Department of Internal Affairs director of gambling Chris Thornborough said: “We’ve been tracking the pokie money through Covid, and we knew there was going to be an impact but we were surprised by the bounce-back once the pokie restrictions were eased.”
Peter Dengate Thrush, chair of the Gaming Machine Association, said that around NZ$300m worth of grants will be made to New Zealand communities “to keep sport and culture and art activities going all over the country”.
Ōtorohanga District Council seeks controlled pokie expansion
The Ōtorohanga District Council wants to change its gambling policy in order to allow a controlled increase in pokie venues.
The proposed change in policy would allow an increase in the number of Class 4 (non-casino) gaming venues and electronic gaming machines in the district.
The Problem Gambling Foundation said the new policy contravenes the Gambling Act.