Further consultation on pokie, TAB venues policy

The Waitaki District Council is to have another go at its poker machines and TAB venues policy when changes it made from its first round meant the public had to get another say.

The process started in September, but changes requested in submissions and raised by councillors were so substantial the policy had to go out for public submissions again.

When it meets on Wednesday, the council will consider starting a public consultation process on August 7, closing it on September 7 and hearing submissions on September 30.

If that process is followed, a final decision will be made on October 28.

The Waitaki district has 13 licensed gambling venues with a total of 123 machines. Last year, almost $4 million was put through them.

All local authorities are required by the Local Government Act to have gambling and TAB venue policies and review them every three years.

Among other issues, the policy addresses how many poker machines are allowed in the district and at what sorts of venues.

This time, consultation will be restricted to three specific issues the council is looking at changing from last year's draft policy:

• Not allowing TAB outlets to have pokies.

• Removing the clause that requires alcohol or alcohol-food sales at gaming venues.

• Separating the gambling venues policy from the TAB venues policy.

Another request, which is outside the policy but has already been agreed to by the council, is for poker machines to be relocated to new premises or combined if clubs are merged.

In a report to the council, corporate planner Laura Wylie said the proposed consultation during August would provide an opportunity to clarify a number of remaining issues with the gambling and TAB venues policy.

The council was widening the types of premises that can apply for machine licenses by removing the requirement to sell alcohol or alcohol and food.

It is believed when that was introduced by the council, it was an attempt to limit use of the machines to people over 18.

The 1977 legislation did not impose an age limit.

But changes in legislation in 2003 brought in an 18-years age restriction, so the requirement could be removed.

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