18 Nov 2022

New regulations planned for pokies to reduce problem gambling

1:13 pm on 18 November 2022
Poker Machines at the Mangere Cosmopolitan Club in South Auckland.

There will be new infringement offences for pokie venues which fail to comply with the changed regulations. Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Indira Stewart

The government is planning new regulations on venues with poker machines, in an attempt to crack down on problem gambling.

Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti said host responsibility requirements would be made clearer, stronger and more enforceable.

There will be a range of new infringement offences for venues which fail to comply.

"Pokies are known to be the most harmful form of land-based gambling in Aotearoa," Tinetti said.

"I'm really pleased we are making progress with strengthening the harm minimisation rules,"

Under the changes, staff will go through mandatory training each year to identify harmful gambling, and venues will be made to conduct regular sweeps and record signs of gambling harm.

Venue design will also change so staff can better monitor ATMs, and gaming machines will be less visible.

The harm minimisation regulations are expected to be in place in the first half of 2023, Tinetti said.

"These changes will help make sure that pokies venues are identifying and acting upon harmful gambling consistently and more often."

Hāpai Te Hauora works on gambling harm prevention in Tāmaki Makaurau and nationally and welcomed the move.

"Gambling harm from pokies disproportionately affects whānau Māori, and we know that communities where harm is perpetuated are less likely to receive the proceeds of Class 4 gambling," Chief executive Selah Hart said in statement.

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