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Board gaming policy needs review

Southland District Council is seeking feedback on its gambling venues policy, proposing to retain its soft cover for poker machines.

The board has made a consultation document available to the public for its policies regarding slot machines and TAB sites.

Along with the gambling sites policy, it is also reviewing its TAB sites policy, which covers the policy on stand-alone TAB stores in the Southland district.

There are no TAB stores in the Southland District.

The policy does not apply to TAB outlets in pubs and clubs.

A TAB site policy would be applied when the council considered a *consent request for a TAB site.

The TAB Sites Policy and the Gaming Sites Policy must be reviewed every three years.

The board has not received any establishment applications to operate slot machines in the past three years.

The board cannot alter consents that have already been given, and consents cannot lapse or expire.

In adopting a policy, council must consider the social impact of gambling in the neighbourhood.

In a report to the council last week, business performance manager Jason Domigan said the data generally showed a continuing downward trend in the number of gaming sites and gaming machines in the district over the past few years. eight years, up to September of last year.

In 2013, there were 133 slot machines in the halls of the district and by September last year they were down to 88.

“Overall gambling site revenue remained relatively flat during this period and there was no increase or decrease in the number of people seeking problem gambling interventions during this period,” Mr. Domigan.

“Compared to all other territorial authorities in New Zealand, Southland District is considered the fifth lowest in slot machine revenue per capita.”

The council’s current gaming site policy is based on a soft sliding lid approach to electronic gaming machines.

This approach allows sites to continue to operate existing machines – and replace existing machines if necessary – but it does not allow licenses for new machines.

The current policy also states that if a site closes, the license to have machines can be transferred to another site.

The report recommended that the policy for gaming machines remain the same with a sliding lid approach.

The benefit of this was that the soft sliding lid approach contributed to the gradual decline of gambling machines, which could contribute to a reduction in gambling-related harm.

The approach balanced the harm caused by gambling with the benefits that gambling money could bring to residents of the district, according to the report.

The document was sent out last week and members of the public have one month to submit their comments.