The gambling policy in Nelson, New Zealand is reviewed every three years, and the latest triennial review has just been held with the regulatory committee having decided to put forward a number of proposed changes to the gambling rules within their jurisdiction to the council.
Those changes include reducing the actual number of pokie machines such as those listed on the newzealandslots.nz website that are in operation throughout the area, and also remove all pokie machines from local areas that are deemed to be experiencing above average rates of depravation too.
Currently throughout the Nelson council’s catchment areas there are some 273 pokie machines that are licensed to operate, however the review panel have decided that they should be reduced in number to just 162 pokies.
Not only that, but should any new venues be granted a permit and license to operate pokie machines moving forward, then the maximum number of machines those venues should be permitted to operate, if granted the permission to do so, should five instead of the current maximum of nine pokies.
The full council does of course have the final day on those proposed changes however it is expected to act on some if not all of them. The idea of reducing the number of pokies in Nelson was originally discussed back in September, however at that time no public consultation took place.
However, there has since been a public consolation on those proposed limits and reductions in the number of pokie machines permitted to operate in the local area and some 50 submissions from the general public were received.
18% of Gaming Income Awarded in Community Grants
The full council are faced with something of a double edged sword when they discuss and eventually decide whether to act on the panels advice, for 18% of the income generated by pokie machines is given back to the community by way of community grants.
In monetary terms the income generated and given away in community related grants to a number of good causes, groups and individuals was some $1.8million over a five year period.
Therefore, they will need to decide whether limiting and/or even reducing the number of pokie machines in Nelson is going to have a negative effect on the amount of money given away in such grants, and whether that reduction will be negated by way of a reduction in people experiencing financial and social problems caused by gambling addiction.
It will be on December the 13th that the full council will hear and ultimately decide on the proposed changes and whether they should act on them and pass them into law.
It has been estimated that around 20% of the adult population in New Zealand has at some point in their life been affected in a negative way by gambling, and as such with that in mind my guess would be that the council does indeed lower the number of pokies in Nelson or at least put some type of limits in place regarding newly opened venues seeking to operate pokies.