COVID-19 Legislative response measures

Return to Gambling Covid-19 updates

Updated: 3 November 2021

2021 Amended regulations

From October 2021, amendments to the Gambling Act 2003 take effect.

The new amendments provide regulatory relief for gambling operators to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.

Gambling Act 2003 (Amended 28 October 2021) (NZ Legislation website)

2020 Amended regulations

From 1 July 2020, a number of amendments to regulations under the Gambling Act 2003 take effect.

The new amendments provide regulatory relief for gambling operators to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.

The Gambling (Fees) Amendment Regulations 2020 (NZ Legislation website)
Gambling (Class 4 Net Proceeds) Amendment Regulations 2020 (NZ Legislation website)

Class 4 fees

Waivers 

Certain fees payable by existing class 4 operators will be waived for the period of 25 March to 30 June 2020.

Details are provided in the new Regulation 19AA (NZ Legislation website)

For fees paid on a pro-rata basis (e.g. compliance annual fees and the category B class 4 operator’s annual fee), operators will be refunded 98 days out of 366 (2020 being a leap year).

For application fees, the fees payable for applications submitted during this 98-day period (from 25 March to 30 June 2020) will be waived.

Applications submitted outside this period will attract full fees.

We are still working through the process of applying waivers to licensing and compliance fees.

For most operators, licence application and compliance fee waivers will be applied as credits to invoices due for renewal applications.

These invoices will be issued in stages throughout August, September, and October.

More information will follow.

EMS

EMS fees did not apply for the period of inactivity during the Government’s Level 3 and Level 4 COVID-19 response.

Fees are still owed for periods of activity (before and after the lockdown) that have not yet been debited.

On 20 July 2020, you were debited for your June 2020 cycle.

On 20 August 2020, you were debited for the following periods of activity:

  • 1-25 March 2020
  • May 2020: from the date your machines became active again to the end of May 2020
  • July 2020

After 20 August 2020, normal billing cycles will resume.

Casino fees

For casinos, fees will be waived for the time in Alert Levels 3 and 4 (from 25 March to 13 May 2020). This recognises that casinos have additional sources of income, including different types of gambling and don’t have the same obligations to make returns to the community.

Fees frozen at 2019/20 levels

The annual compliance (per gaming machine) fee increase planned for 1 July 2020 will now not proceed.

This Class 4 venue fee is frozen at 2019/20 levels until a comprehensive fees review has been completed.

Schedule of gambling fees (Class 4) 

Net proceeds

The Gambling (Class 4 Net Proceeds) Amendment Regulations 2020 temporarily suspend some requirements and include a new regulation to improve the liquidity of the class 4 sector.

Regulations 10(1) and 11 of the Gambling (Class 4 Net Proceeds) Regulations 2004 (Net Proceeds Regulations) have been suspended for each society’s 2020 and 2021 financial years.

This means that societies which are unable to meet the minimum rate of return to the community (i.e. equivalent to 40 per cent of a society’s gross proceeds), will not be penalised for the 2020 and 2021 financial years. It does not remove the obligation to minimise costs and maximise community returns.

Financial viability and building cash reserves

A new regulation (11A) made under section 114 of the Gambling Act was established to improve the liquidity of the class 4 sector and ensure class 4 operators have adequate reserves to demonstrate their ongoing financial viability. 

Gambling (Class 4 Net Proceeds) Amendment Regulations 2020 (NZ Legislation website)

Class 4 operators are able to retain an amount of gross proceeds up to a maximum of 1.5:1 ratio of current assets to current liabilities.

This is a cash reserve only.

Cash reserves cannot be used to purchase fixed assets with an economic life of less than one year or that cannot be realised for book asset value.

This means that cash reserves should not be used to purchase gaming machines or gaming equipment.

Once the maximum 1.5:1 ratio has been attained, all distributions under regulations 10 and 11 are required to be returned to the community.

Non-club societies are still expected to meet their obligation to minimise their costs and to distribute available net proceeds.

The Department actively monitors societies’ activities, accounts, and returns to ensure they are maximising returns to the community.

Financial viability assessments will be paused for a short period while a new process is developed. Societies can continue to operate on their existing licence until their licence is renewed.

Clubs expenses – interim measures extended to 31 July

In April 2020, the Department advised that club general expenses for “keeping the lights on” and general support of staff could be considered general administration expenses of the club (and thus an authorised purpose).

This was for an initial period of twelve weeks (from midnight 25 March 2020), with flexibility to extend this period.

DIA is extending this period until 31 July.

From 1 August, these general expenses will no longer be considered an authorised purpose.

Further information

Schedule of gambling fees

Regulation amendment FAQs

 

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