Gambling policy to be decided later

The Waitaki District Council has delayed finalising a review of its gambling policy, which sets rules around gaming machines, so councillors can come to grips with what is proposed.

The Gambling Venues Policy has to be reviewed every three years, which includes calling for public submissions.

The council has already considered those submissions and at its meeting on Tuesday was due to make a decision on its policy. However, councillors only received a report on the policy review on the same day as the meeting.

Cr Jim Hopkins said that, no matter what the council decided, it would "attract significant public attention".

He felt councillors did not have time last Tuesday to understand the report and, instead, suggested it be discussed at a workshop.

Councillors agreed the report should lie on the table subject to a workshop on the policy recommendations.

Strategy group manager Richard Mabon said decisions on the policy review had been set down for the council meeting on Tuesday next week.

However, it was brought forward because the council would "have its hands full" making final decisions on the 2011-12 annual plan.

The policy sets the number of gaming machines allowed in the Waitaki district.

Four options were in the report.

These were maintaining the current limit of 140 machines, increasing it to 150 machines, limiting the number to the 129 already in the district or adopting a sinking lid policy (as machines were removed they were not replaced).

The report also recommended amending the policy at the request of the New Zealand Racing Board to allow gaming machines in TAB premises.



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