Proposed Gambling Policy

Proposed Gambling Policy

CLOSED

Gambling Policy adopted

The Council considered all written and verbal feedback from the community on the draft Gambling Policy at the meetings on 9 and 16 September 2020. The Council subsequently adopted the policy.

About our Policy

This policy sets out the Hauraki District Council’s decision on its responsibilities in relation to Class 4 and TAB venues occurring within the Hauraki District. It is made in accordance with Gambling Act 2003 and the Racing Industry Act 2020 (the Acts) and comes in to effect on the 1st October 2020.

Before adopting the policy, Council amended Section 3.1.1 (d) of the policy to more clearly reflect the regulations around the primary activity of class 4 venues. This amendment clarifies that the primary activity is not anything other than onsite entertainment, recreation or leisure focused on persons 18 years and over.

The Council made the following comments in relation to feedback received on draft Gambling Policy:

  • The examples provided in clause 3.7 are not limited and other circumstances may be considered as part of this clause for relocation of Class 4 venues. Existing venues are exempt from the location clauses within the policy, unless they shift. Meaning an existing club may be in a zone that the policy would not allow (close to a school) and allowing them to relocate would put them in a location that aligned with the policy is preferable. There needs to be a level of fairness when considering circumstances beyond the control of the venues which may mean they have to change premises
  • Removing the ability for two or more venues to merge removes the option/s as set out in Clause 3.6 to reduce their total numbers of machines allowed and also reduce the number of venues within the district. Removal does not guarantee that one of more of those clubs would however close or reduce machines otherwise.
  • With the current cap of venues and machines within the district it rules out the ability for new venues to open. Unless at least one venue closes and more than 50 machines are reduced, no new venues would be granted a class 4 venue license within the district. The relocation policy allows for those with existing venue licences, who for extenuating circumstances, cannot remain in their current location. The policy enables them to change venues whilst meeting the requirements of the policy around location, zone, machine number etc. It is considered fair to those businesses and preferable to Council to have venues which meet the policies requirements.
  • The cap was formulated during the last review of the policy based on the average gaming machines per head of the population aligning with the national average. Based on this formula updated in 2020, the cap would decrease. However as there is still a significant gap between the cap and actual machines, this does not seem necessary at this time. Given the goal of the Council is to reduce the impact of problem gambling within the district a cap lower than the actual amount is appropriate in aiding the slow decrease of machines within the district.
  • The current caps within the policy prevent any new venues from opening or increasing gaming machine numbers. Existing licenses cannot be impacted by the current policy as they were approved prior to its first adoption unless they let their licence lapse, relocate or merge clubs within the district.
  • There are limitations of Council’s abilities to further impact gambling related harm when existing licences are exempted from the policy unless they seek to make changes to their existing licence or let it lapse.
  • The intention of sinking lid policy is to reduce the harm of problem gambling within the district by eventually reducing the number of machines available. Given only 21% of gaming machine profits are returned back into the district annually, gaming as an economic benefit to the district is not a driving factor in the policy.

Read the documents | Pānui ngā tuhinga

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