Understanding gambling in the community

Gathering information on gambling trends and statistics in your district will provide a foundation for your policy review as you assess the social impacts of gambling in your community.

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Gambling data and gaming machine proceeds

Gathering information on gambling trends and statistics in your district will provide a foundation for your social impact assessment.

The gaming machine proceeds (GMP) dashboard

You can view gaming machine proceeds (GMP) data for non-casino gaming machines by region via the GMP dashboard tool on the DIA website, which is updated each quarter.

This dashboard makes it easier to visualise data trends, including venue and machine numbers, deprivation rating and changes over time. This data is available by region and council, and you can select the time period you wish to view. It is also possible to use the dashboard to compare your council with its neighbours or other comparable councils.

Gaming machine proceeds (GMP) dashboard

Gambling statistics

The Department also releases gambling expenditure statistics that shows the amount spent on the four main types of gambling activity - racing and sports betting, New Zealand Lotteries Commission products, casinos and gaming machines (outside casinos).

Gambling Statistics

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The Gambling Act requires gaming societies to return at least 40% of the net proceeds from gambling to the community, in accordance with their authorised purposes, in the form of grants. While there is no legislative requirement that grants must be returned to the communities that generated the gaming proceeds in the first place, many societies endeavour to return a large percentage of their proceeds to the communities where the funds were generated.

You can check the Department’s website for the authorised purpose of each society operating in your district.

Authorised purposes

How do I find out where community grants go?

Each society must publish full information on successful and unsuccessful grants from gaming machine societies on their website. This must be done at least annually and is a requirement under section 110(4) of the Gambling Act.

Find out how your community has benefitted from class 4 grants:  

  • Check the GMP Data Dashboard to see which societies are operating venues in your local area.
  • Check each society’s website and identify any local organisations that have succeeded or been partially successful in receiving class 4 grants.
  • Note that some class 4 funding goes to national and regional organisations, not just local organisations. For example, over recent years, the Plunket Foundation has received funding support from a number of societies, including Lion Foundation, Lottery Grants Board, Southern Trust and Pelorus Trust. 

Gaming machine proceeds (GMP) dashboard

Funding for community groups

Note that key persons in societies and venues must not influence decisions about grants and must not be involved in the society’s grant process in any way. 

Key persons – as per Section 4 of the Gambling Act – Interpretations

Managing conflicts of interest

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Harm research

Summary of key findings from Ministry of Health gambling research

For most New Zealanders, gambling is a recreational activity that is enjoyed safely and in moderation. There is, however, a significant minority of New Zealanders who are identified as ‘moderate risk’ or ‘problem gamblers’, and the harm they experience can have a significant negative impact on their own lives and the lives of others. Research shows that Māori and Pacific peoples, some Asian communities and people on lower incomes disproportionately experience gambling harm.

Around 1 in 5 New Zealand adults (22%) will be affected at some time in their lives by their own gambling or the gambling of others.[i]

Māori, Pacific peoples and Asian peoples are each more than twice as likely to experience moderate to severe gambling harm than the European/other population.

Research also shows higher concentrations of class 4 electronic gaming machines located in lower socioeconomic areas. Approximately 50 percent of all machines are located in the most socioeconomically deprived areas (NZ Dep 8-10). Economically, people in these areas can least afford financial losses from gambling.

The Health and Lifestyles Survey 2016 found that gambling harm is experienced disproportionately by those living in areas with a high New Zealand Deprivation index score (8/10 or higher), who were 4.5 times as likely to experience gambling-related arguments or money problems related to gambling.

Research has shown that the most harmful forms of gambling are the continuous type such as EGMs where any winnings can immediately be “reinvested” in further gambling [ii]. New Zealand gambling surveys like the National Gambling Study and the Health and Lifestyles Survey have also consistently shown EGMs are the most commonly named source of gambling harm.[iii] [iv] [v] [vi] [vii]

There is evidence that the prevalence of problem gambling increases with increasing density of EGMs. Research shows that there is an average increase of 0.8 problem gamblers (or nearly one) for each new machine in an area.[viii]  In addition to problem gamblers, those experiencing wider gambling related harms, such as low/moderate risk gamblers and family/whanau/affected others, invariably increase when problem gambling rates increase.

Progress on gambling harm reduction 2010 to 2017

This outcomes report on the New Zealand Strategy to Prevent and Minimise Gambling Harm focuses on what has been achieved in the prevention and minimisation of gambling harm over the calendar period 2010 to 2017.

Outcomes report

Introducing public health gambling harm reduction concepts and terms

This document aims to introduce some of the key terms, concepts, theory and issues informing the New Zealand Ministry of Health approach to minimising gambling harm, and typically used in the research literature. 

It is published by He Taumata – the minimising gambling harm workforce hub.

Introducing public health gambling harm reduction concepts and terms


[i] Thimasarn-Anwar, T., Squire, H., Trowland, H. & Martin, G. (2017). Gambling report: Results from the 2016 Health and Lifestyles Survey. Wellington: Health Promotion Agency Research and Evaluation Unit.

[ii] Abbott M. 2006. Do EGMs and problem gambling go together like a horse and carriageGambling Research: Journal of the National Association for Gambling Studies (Australia) 18(1): 7–38.

[iii] Abbott, M., Bellringer, M., & Garrett, N. (2018). New Zealand National Gambling Study: Wave 4 (2015). Report number 6. Auckland: Auckland University of Technology, Gambling and Addictions Research Centre.

[iv] Abbott, M., Bellringer, M., & Garrett, N. (2014). New Zealand 2012 National Gambling Study:

Gambling harm and problem gambling: Report 2. Auckland: Auckland University of Technology, Gambling and Addictions Research Centre.

[v] Allen+Clarke. 2015. Informing the 2015 gambling harm needs assessment: Final report for the Ministry of Health, Wellington.

[vi] Rossen F, Walker C, Berry S, et al. 2017. Parental Gambling in New Zealand Families: Evidence from Growing Up in New ZealandAuckland: Auckland University.

[vii] Tu D, Puthipiroj P. 2017. New Zealanders’ Participation in Gambling: Results from the 2014 Health and Lifestyles SurveyWellington: Health Promotion Agency Research and Evaluation Unit.

[viii] Storer, J., M. Abbott and J. Stubbs (2009). “Access or adaptation? A meta-analysis of surveys of problem gambling prevalence in Australia and New Zealand with respect to concentration of electronic gaming machines.” International Gambling Studies 9(3): 225-244

Back to Harm research

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Online gambling

Section 9(2) of the Gambling Act states that “remote interactive gambling” (online and phone gambling) is illegal in New Zealand unless it is authorised under the Act. The ban includes selling raffle tickets on the internet and New Zealand operators providing online gambling to New Zealanders.

In New Zealand, there are two authorised providers operating online gambling – the Lotteries Commission (Lotto) and TAB N. It is illegal for overseas online gambling operators to advertise to New Zealanders. (Section 16 of the Gambling Act).

The ban on other New Zealand operators providing online gambling does not prevent New Zealanders from participating in online gambling with operators based outside New Zealand. For example, betting on overseas-based casino websites and sports betting applications is not illegal.

There is some evidence indicating that New Zealanders are gambling more online, including spending more on Lotto and racing/sports betting online products. More research is underway to find out the extent of money being spent by New Zealanders on online gambling.

The Safer Gambling Aotearoa website has some useful descriptions of the current online gambling environment, including the risks of gambling with offshore providers.

Safer Gambling Aotearoa

It is difficult to predict the extent to which an increase in online gambling may result in an increase in problem gamblers and gambling-related harm. We do know that some forms of online gambling are addictive, particularly those that provide an opportunity for continuous gambling, such as online pokies.

Online gambling presents challenges for the New Zealand gambling regulatory system. In the past, regulating gambling has focused on licensing New Zealand gambling operators and their land-based gambling premises, and ensuring compliance with New Zealand domestic gambling legislation. Online gambling will require new and innovative regulatory approaches. The Government is in the process of developing its approach toward the regulation of online gambling.

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Managing conflicts of interest

Because of the interconnected nature of communities, democratic processes and the gambling system, there will inevitably be conflicts of interest to manage.

You may have elected members and senior managers who are also in governance positions on societies, clubs and/or recipients of funding. These potential conflicts of interest will need to be managed carefully.

For elected members, the Local Authorities (Members' Interests) Act 1968 informs how conflicts of interest must be considered. See section 6:

If an elected member has a financial interest, they must consider the requirements of that Act in recognising, disclosing, and managing their conflict.

Actions for managing and mitigating a conflict of interest can be found on the Auditor General’s website:

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Engagement resources

Engaging with Māori, Pacific Peoples, and other community groups

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