Pub and club owners and operators are pushing for a change to
gambling laws, to allow them to take a profit on pokie
machines and to reduce the amount that gets paid back to the
community in grants.
The proposed changes have drawn fire from the Green Party
which says they will lead to increased problem gambling.
In a recent policy document Hospitality New Zealand says it
wants gambling law changes to tackle "unfair remuneration of
operators and a bureaucratic, cumbersome operating
environment with no flexibility or fairness".
Hospitality NZ want the law changed to introduce a
commission-based payment system for venues, allowing them to
take 16 per cent of pokie machine profits.
At present they are permitted to take only enough to cover
Amongst other changes, Hospitality NZ also wants the removal
of the requirement for 37 per cent of profits to be returned
to the community, replacing that with a "a cap on society
It also wants venues that merge to be able to increase the
number of machines they operate - a measure that appears to
cut across the "sinking lid"policy many local authorities
Hospitality NZ gaming advocate Reg Hennessy said the changes
would deliver fairness, transparency and integrity, which
were "critical to ensure that the sector was fairly
remunerated for raising significant funds for the community".
"Allowing gaming machines to be relocated to new venues would
help the hospitality product ... to modernise and meet the
needs of the developing new suburbs."
Hospitality NZ says it intends lobbying political parties and
MPs to adopt the law changes as policy, and it was seeking
support from other stakeholders, including Gaming Trusts,
recipients of grants and the Department of Internal Affairs.
However, Green Party gambling spokeswoman Denise Roche said
if hosts were allowed to make a commission on machine
proceeds, "they would be incentivised to encourage more
gambling, much of which is likely to come from problem
She also criticised the proposal to scrap the requirement to
return 37 per cent of profits to the community.
"This seems to suggest that community groups would be given
what's left over, if anything, once the pub owner, and gaming
trust have clipped the ticket, when the Gambling Act is
really clear that the purpose of this type of gambling is to
create funds for community organisations."
Hospitality NZ's proposed pokie law changes:
# A commission based payment system for venues, set at 16 per
# The ability for existing gaming venue licences to be
transferred to other sites.
# Removal of the requirement for 37.12 per cent to be
returned to the community, to be replaced with a cap on
# Clubs to distribute 50 per cent of their authorised purpose
funds outside the club environment.
# Where venues merge that they have the opportunity to
increase the number of machines to 30, consistent with the
current policy for Clubs.
- Adam Bennett of the NZ Herald