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Dunedin is a step closer to a city-wide sinking lid for gambling machines, after a hearings committee rejected the pleas of sports organisations worried about a loss of funding.
The Dunedin City Council's hearings committee had been considering changes to the gambling and TAB venue policy, including a proposal to extend the existing sinking-lid policy in South Dunedin to the rest of the city.
The proposed changes, which also included banning new gambling venues and prevented existing ones from relocating, horrified some sports and community groups, who received funding from trusts administering the machines.
But, after deliberating on more than 50 public submissions yesterday, the committee resolved to stick with the tougher stance.
The only change was the inclusion of a new clause allowing venues affected by natural disasters, fires or acquisition under the Public Works Act to relocate to another site, except in South Dunedin.
Cr Aaron Hawkins told the Otago Daily Times all other aspects of the new proposals remained unchanged.
The new approach aimed to balance community benefits from poker-machine funding and the ''collateral damage'' of community harm caused by gambling, he said.
Applying the sinking-lid policy to the rest of the city would only result in gradual change, as ''natural attrition'' claimed existing venues, he said.
''There's no sudden shutdown of venues. As such I think any impact on the levels of funding won't be dramatic or sudden as a result of this policy.''
It was ''valid'' to argue the aim of a sinking-lid policy was to remove poker machines completely over time, but the gradual pace of change meant there was time for a community conservation about how best to fund community groups, he said.
The committee's recommendations were due to be considered at the next full council meeting on March 20.