Sinking-lid pokies policy gets closer

Aaron Hawkins
Aaron Hawkins

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.


Sure there needs to be policy on these machines and regulations but wow what next from the DCC, will the councillors start acting like those in Allo Allo TV series of the 1980's next? will the DCC the make up the short fall for the sports teams? Lets put the rates up a little to cover the shortfall for the sports teams, and maybe have a sausage sizzle outside the council buildings to support the teams. Watch out DCC they will be building a wall around Dunedin next

Addictive Gambling is a public health issue, with social consequences. In this regard, it is a Municipal concern.

Agree it is a national concern and should not be watered down by councils to apply a bylaw on how they think it should work. This council has failed in other areas where it should be managed by central Government and Dunedin has paid. If we were like Australia and had states yes by all means let the state government apply the rules but we are not. In Dunedin's case those making these decisions and regulations within the Council are not the experts never will be and don't know have the knowledge or expertise. I strongly believe there should be an overall umbrella approach to this by Government rather than a shotgun effect by the DCC. and that approach applies to a lit of things the DCC waste coin on ( don't get me started) Look at Western Australia, only casinos have pokies no bars or clubs and it works wonders for them.