City loses millions to pokies; draft gambling policy approved

Invecargill lost more than $15.8 million to poker machines last year, a report received by council's finance and policy committee states.

The council's committee approved the draft Class 4 gambling and board venues policy this week.

The recommendation now goes to the full council and, if approved, it will go to public consultation.

The council's acting environment health manager, Michael Morris, said the document did not present ''major changes'', but restated aspects from the previous policy ''in a clear and more consistent manner.''

The document stipulated a cap of pokies at 247 machines in 17 venues, which is a reduction of 37 machines from the previous policy in 2015.

The draft also did not introduce a sinking lid, but said there would be ''no new venues opened in the city other than by way of relocation''.

It also presented a requirement of a social impact assessment to be completed for all poker machines applications.

The report presented by him states 87% of the population did not use pokies at all but, using national percentages as an indication, Invercargill users would ''have lost between $3384 and $4911 each a year'' on pokies.

That is equivalent to 17-24 weeks of rent in the city.

 

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