Few Changes to Gambling Bill

slot machine by Samuel Miller from the Noun ProjectThe Select Committee reported on the Gambling Amendment Bill (no.3) on the 11th of May and it went through its second reading in Parliament on 4th June. The Bill was supported by National, Labour, United Future and ACT parties with the Greens, NZ First and the Māori Party opposing it. The third and final reading of the Bill may bring further changes as parties indicated they would be proposing amendments in the final Committee stage of the Bill.

As reported in the March Kete Kupu, NZCCSS supported the Bill’s intentions to require more detailed and more widely accessible reporting from pokie trusts. But NZCCSS also opposed proposals to grant longer license periods to pokie trusts and also the clauses allowing the payment of commissions to pokie trusts based on their turnover. NZCCSS also shares the concern of other submitters about the lost opportunity to reduce gambling harm, as yet another Gambling Bill goes through Parliament that does not introduce simple controls like pre-commitment cards that help gamblers limit the amount they gamble.

The Select Committee report is a majority report and includes minority views from the Labour & Green Parties. Clauses have been added strengthening the requirements on pokie trusts to distribute proceeds of gambling in the geographical areas where the money was lost, which seems a good move. But they have reaffirmed the intention to allow Internal Affairs the right to grant longer licenses as an “incentive for best practice and compliance” among pokie trusts and gambling venues, which is disappointing. The Internal Affairs ‘mystery shopper’ visits to gambling venues in late 2014 showed only one out 102 venues visited actually intervened properly around clear problem gambling behaviour, which does not indicate a sector even close to earning any “rewards for good practice” but rather more active regulation.

Read the NZCCSS submission on our Publications page under Submissions and the Select Committee report is online at the Parliament website.

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