19 Jun 2013

More reforms to gaming bill

7:23 pm on 19 June 2013

The Government has announced plans to further reform the gaming sector to reduce gambling harm following significant changes to a Maori Party MP's bill.

It includes a crackdown on gaming societies and venues that cheat the system and allowing venues to move without losing any of their poker machines.

Te Ururoa Flavell.

Te Ururoa Flavell. Photo: MAORI PARTY

Te Ururoa Flavell's members' bill had several parts deleted or changed this week by a Parliamentary committee because it said some proposed measures were not practical.

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain said on Wednesday that, following consultation with the Maori Party, regulations would be introduced to increase the amount of community funding from gaming machines' proceeds.

Mr Tremain said gaming venues would also be able to move from poor areas without losing any of their pokies.

Legislation will be introduced later this year to prosecute societies and venues that rip-off the sector and allow the Department of Internal Affairs to cancel or suspend gaming licences.

Te Ururoa Flavell said on Wednesday his decision to accept a rewrite of his bill is purely political. He said the compromise was worth it because without it the bill would not progress, and it is better to get some gains than nothing at all.

Waste of time, says Salvation Army

The Salvation Army dismissed the Government's plans to tackle problem gambling as a complete waste of time and money after hundreds of submissions and a select committee process.

Spokesperson Major Campbell Roberts believed it is a very weak response to gambling harm and would make no impact whatsoever.

Mr Roberts said it is scandalous that so much time and money has been spent on what he calls a dog's breakfast of a bill. He said it is an insult to the community and should be voted down.