Reducing Pokies Harm 2023

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(Updated: 5 December 2023)

The Gambling Harm Prevention and Minimisation Amendment Regulations 2023 are fully in force from 1 December 2023. These regulations amend the Gambling (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Regulations 2004 (the Harm Minimisation Regulations).

Why the change?

Pokies, also known as electronic gaming machines (EGMs) are one of the most harmful forms of gambling. They are the leading reason that people seek gambling-related help in Aotearoa.

Class 4 licence holders, venue operators, and venue managers have responsibilities to identify and address gambling harm in their venues. Existing requirements had not done enough to identify, prevent and minimise harm, or to incentivise compliance. In some cases, people have suffered financial and other harms from gambling at pokies venues, yet these harms were not being consistently identified by venue managers and staff.

The 2023 changes to the Harm Minimisation Regulations have been designed to create clear and consistent standards that apply to all venues. They introduce new monitoring procedures at venues to support venue managers and staff identify signs of harm earlier and more consistently. They also set out clear rules for how staff must respond when signs of harm are identified.

Infringement offences have also been introduced to promote compliance. These regulatory changes have been made after a public consultation process.

We have published detailed guidance on the changes and what our recommendations are to demonstrate compliance: Gambling Harm Prevention and Minimisation Guidance.

What are the amendments?

For guidance on the regulatory changes please refer to the Gambling Harm Prevention and Minimisation Guidance here: Gambling Harm Prevention and Minimisation Guidance

Part 1

15 June 2023

Three changes that came into effect:

  • Venue managers are no longer responsible for jackpot advertising and branding requirements. Venue operators and class 4 licence holders remain responsible.
  • Infringement offences for non-compliance with existing regulations 9,10 and 11

Updated ways to pay for infringement fees (Legislation website) 

Part 2 1 September 2023

Changes to problem gambling awareness training, including:

  • The minimum capabilities that the training needs to cover, including how to monitor for signs of harm and conducting gambling area sweeps
  • How the training must be delivered. Certain topics must be covered in practical and interactive sessions
  • The minimum information that the training needs to cover
  • Guidance on certain topics such as how to maintain records, and privacy of information.
Part 3 1 December 2023

All changes are in effect from 1 December 2023, including:

Venue managers have new responsibilities at venues. This includes ensuring venue staff responsible for supervising class 4 gambling are:

  • monitoring the gambling room through regular sweeps
  • making records of each sweep
  • taking reasonable steps to identify a player present for 9 sweeps in a row
  • considering if a player is showing signs of gambling harm
  • having a conversation with players showing signs of gambling harm, and that they record these conversations.

Venue managers must review these records at least once per week and record their review.

Other changes include:

  • changes in the requirements around venue design
  • required annual problem gambling awareness training for venue personnel who supervise gambling
  • new infringement offences to support compliance with the new requirements.

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Some changes will be paid for by the venue, from their venue commission payments, others will be paid for by the society or club. Societies can use proceeds of gambling activities on actual, necessary and reasonable costs related to meeting the new regulations. These rules may be applied to venue design changes, and training. However your costs must be both necessary to comply with the regulations and reasonable – care must be taken to ensure that societies minimise expenditure to maximise community wellbeing.


We are the primary regulator of gambling in Aotearoa New Zealand. Our focus is on preventing and minimising the risk of harm caused by gambling, ensuring the integrity of the gambling regulatory system, and maximising the community benefit from the proceeds of gambling. We do this by carrying out our regulatory functions under the Gambling Act. This includes education, licensing, monitoring, investigation, and enforcement activities.

The Harm Minimisation Regulations are part of a set of obligations on class 4 societies, clubs, venue operators, venue managers and venue staff to prevent and minimise problem gambling. If a person or organisation fails to comply with their obligations under the Gambling Act or its regulations, the Department can (depending on the nature of the obligation breached):

  • provide education and guidance
  • issue warning letters
  • negotiate a specific outcome
  • impose specific licence conditions
  • issue infringement notices
  • suspend or cancel licences, or
  • take prosecutions.

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Related information

Gambling policy

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