A review of Class 4 gambling machine regulations for harm minimisation will help support vulnerable communities, says Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti.
The review, which is now underway, aims to target and reduce harm experienced by some people who use pokies and people close to them.
“Pokies are known to be the most harmful form of land-based gambling in Aotearoa, and this review will target ways to reduce harm experienced by people who use pokies and those close to them,” says Tinetti, who is also Labour’s List MP for Tauranga.
“Harmful pokies gambling accounts for the majority of referrals to gambling treatment providers, and for much of the second-hand gambling harm experienced by a gambler’s whānau and friends.
Data from the 2020 Health and Lifestyles Survey indicates that about 10 per cent of New Zealanders play pokies, with one in five players considered to be at-risk from gambling harm.
“The review will bring greater clarity around what venues need to recognise and manage at-risk gamblers, how pokie machine features can assist, and enforcement tools for non-compliance with gambling harm minimisation rules.”
This will include tools to help venue staff identify concerning gambling behaviour, and making changes to some of the machine’s features to discourage continuous, harmful gambling.
“Gambling harm tends to affect those who can least afford it and may already be experiencing social or financial challenges,” says Tinetti.
“This includes our Māori and Pacific communities. Gambling can not only lead to debt, but financial hardship, family violence, relationship strain and difficulties sustaining employment, among other harms.
“We encourage any community or individual who wishes to get involved with the review to have their say, by providing feedback and ideas on the proposed changes.
“We have the chance to create serious change. Feedback from public consultation in addition to harm treatment providers, societies and gambling venues will help us create regulations informed by gamblers, their whānau and friends, and people who work with those experiencing harm.”
Public consultation began on March 17 2022 and will run for six weeks.
Head to www.dia.govt.nz/reducingpokiesharm to read the public discussion document, including quick-reads in a number of languages.
Tinetti seeks to have more appropriate harm minimisation regulations for pokies in place in the first half of 2023.