The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Services › Casino and Non-Casino Gaming › Gambling in Pubs and Clubs (Class 4)

Gaming machines in pubs and clubs (i.e. outside a casino) represent 'Class 4' gambling, which the Gambling Act 2003 classifies as high-risk, high-turnover gambling. Class 4 gambling may only be conducted by a corporate society and only to raise money for an authorised (e.g. community and non-commercial) purpose.

Gambling Harm Prevention and Minimisation Guidance

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

The amendments to the Harm Minimisation Regulations strengthen harm minimisation requirements for non-casino pokies (class 4) venues.

Supporting your compliance

We have developed a number of educational resources to support your compliance with the amended Gambling (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Regulations 2004.

Webinar on Gambling Harm Prevention and Minimisation Guidance 9 November 2023

Vicki Scott, Gambling Director and Ben Gamboni, Deputy Director Operations present the Gambling Harm Prevention and Minimisation Guidance and answer questions from the sector.

Gambling Harm Prevention and Minimisation Guidance November 2023

This guidance has been developed to help you comply with the new regulatory requirements.

Our guidance explains what societies, clubs, and venues will need to do to meet their obligations under the new regulations and demonstrate compliance.

Optional draft paper-based templates 1 December 2023

The Department has developed a number of recording templates to support venues meet the requirements of the Harm Minimisation Regulations. These are optional and can be amended to meet the specific requirements of any venue.

For more information: Reducing Pokies Harm 2023

Class 4 gambling in clubs - booklet

The Class 4 gambling in clubs booklet is a guide for those who govern, manage or work for clubs with a licence to operate gaming machines in New Zealand. You will find information on the following topics:

  • Our licensing forms
  • Licence renewal
  • Key persons
  • Authorised purpose
  • Net Proceeds Committee
  • Gaming machine expenses
  • Cash float
  • Banking of GMP
  • Harm prevention and minimisation
  • Succession planning
  • Signage and gaming machine forms
  • Other types of gambling
  • Contact us

Class 4 gambling in clubs - A guide for those who govern, manage or work for clubs with a licence to operate gaming machines in New Zealand - Te Tari Taiwhenua Internal Affairs

Pokies in New Zealand: A guide to how the system works

New Zealand has a unique system that is set up to provide millions of dollars to the community from the money gambled on pokie machines in pubs and clubs.

This guide provides an overview of the latest figures, information about who does what, and how the different parts of the system are connected.

With a comprehensive frequently asked questions (FAQs) section, this guide provides easily accessible information about the gaming machine sector all in one place.

Licensing criteria and requirements

Gambling Act 2003 aims to control the growth of gambling. There are strict licensing criteria for organisations wanting to run gaming machines and for the venues at which those machines are operated.

Licensing application and payment processes

Tips for completing the forms and information about incomplete applications, payment processes, and how to lodge your application.

Licensing and compliance fees

Find a list of all the licensing fees for operators and venues, as well as monitoring and compliance fees.

Class 4 gambling forms

Find links to all the Class 4 gambling forms.

Licence conditions

Operator's licences and venue licences issued or renewed are subject to licence conditions issued under the Gambling Act 2003. These conditions accompany and form part of the licence. Any corporate society must comply with the requirements set out in the licence conditions. Non-compliance will put the society's licence at risk.

Four Fact Sheets explain more about Class 4 licensing:

Financial viability

The Department is currently reviewing its expectations in determining whether a Class 4 applicant's proposed gambling operation is "financially viable".

Authorised purposes

Class 4 corporate societies that are licensed to operate gaming machines must apply the net proceeds of the gaming operation to authorised purposes.

Authorised purposes are:
  • charitable purposes
  • non-commercial purposes that have community benefits
  • promoting, controlling and conducting race meetings.
A society must state what its regulations are, and the statement will be included on its licence. The use of funds for unauthorised purposes can lead to prosecution or licence cancellation.

Current Regulations

Regulations have been made under the Gambling Act 2003 to help achieve the objectives of the Act. The following regulations apply to individuals and organisations that are authorised to operate gambling:
See also:

Class 4 Game Rules

The Gambling Act (Class 4) Game Rules govern the playing and participation in Class 4 gambling that utilises gaming machines outside of casinos and the systems, processes, information and documentation associated with particular games.

The current Gambling Act (Class 4) Game Rules:


Historical Reference

The following rules were in place prior to 7 March 2016 (use for historical reference only):
The following rules were in place prior to 29 June 2006 (use for historical reference only): The Gaming Machine Operations Manual (Blue Book) was replaced by the Class 4 Game Rules 2004.

Class 4 Support Guidelines

These Support Guidelines are not mandatory. They were developed by class 4 sector representatives in collaboration with the Department to assist gaming machine operators with their operations. In particular, the Support Guidelines will help venue operators ensure their gaming machine float remains intact.

Class 4 Venue Assessments

The Department assesses class 4 non club venues against three overall outcomes. Guidance for venue managers, the outcomes framework, the Department’s expectations of well performing venues, and the assessment guide for inspectors are available below.

The guide for inspectors was designed to assist with venue assessments. It is not a definitive template and inspectors may or may not ask each question listed within it. During a venue assessment inspectors will be asking sufficient questions to satisfy themselves that they have a good understanding of a venue’s practices including how they meet their harm minimisation obligations. This will allow them to decide how well a venue meets the Department’s expectations for each outcome. It is likely that inspectors will often ask other questions which are not included in this guide.

Venue Expenses

Key Messages Following Gambling Commission Appeals

The following letter clarifies the Department's expectations in relation to actual, reasonable and necessary costs; minimising costs and maximising net proceeds; venue developments and enhancements; and a number of other issues following recent Gambling Commission appeals.

Record keeping for gambling operations (Clubs)

The Department has created the example
Record Keeping for Gaming Operations (Monthly) Spreadsheet.

All clubs are encouraged to use the spreadsheet, which will help to:
  • easily identify funds available for Authorised Purposes each month
  • monitor the percentage of distributed Authorised Purposes on a monthly basis
  • understand the difference between Authorised Purposes and the Direct Costs of Gaming
  • avoid over-distribution of Authorised Purposes
  • complete the renewal application.
Please update the spreadsheet with data from the start of your financial year and follow it from now on. You can add more Authorised Purposes that correspond to the club's gaming licence. Total boxes and Authorised Purpose percentages will be calculated automatically if the formula stays the same.

If you have any questions about using the spreadsheet, please contact: phone 0800 257 887 or email

Conference Expenses

All societies should consider these guidelines carefully before deciding whether to arrange a conference:
The basic principle that underlies these guidelines is that costs must be minimised and funds for the community must be maximised.

Note: These Guidelines are currently under review in light of the Gambling Commission's comments in its decision in the appeal by The Trusts Charitable Foundation (TTCF) against the Secretary's suspension of its Class 4 operator's licence.

Societies should read the existing guidelines in light of the Gambling Commission's decision and should refer to the Key Messages from the Southern Trust (GC11/10) letter sent to societies on 5 July 2010.

Venue Transfers

The process for transferring gaming machines from one society to another changed with the implementation of the
Electronic Monitoring System (EMS). View the step-by-step instructions:

Banking of Gaming Machine Profits

Late Banking of Gaming Machine Profits Policy (March 2020)

See also: Policy Change Notification Letter to Societies (29 November 2010) ( (PDF, 73K)*

Guide: Treatment of Class 4 gambling profits where exceptional circumstances have prevented its banking

Section 104(1) of the Gambling Act 2003 (the Act) requires a Class 4 venue manager to bank all gambling profits (GMP) directly into a dedicated account for gaming machine profits. On occasions an event such as a theft, robbery or a natural disaster may impact on the venue manager’s ability to bank GMP in accordance with the requirements under the Act.

The Department has introduced a policy which confirms that while the venue operator is responsible for ensuring all GMP is banked into the society’s account, there are some exceptional circumstances where we may agree to waive the requirement for the venue operator to bank:
  • The portion of the insurance excess that relates specifically to GMP; or
  • Some or all of the outstanding GMP (where the GMP has not been insured but legitimate attempts were made to do so).
For the request to waive GMP to be considered the Department needs to be satisfied that there were processes in place at the venue to mitigate risk of GMP loss, and that the terms in the venue agreement were complied with. The guide below provides guidance on what the Department may consider in this situation.

Guide to Procedure for Club Mergers

Section 95 of the Gambling Act 2003 sets out a sequence of steps that must be taken by clubs that intend to merge under the section 95 procedure and wish to apply to the Minister for approval to operate up to 30 machines.

The Role of Territorial Authorities

The Gambling Act allows for the growth of gambling to be controlled through territorial authorities.

Territorial authorities have introduced policies that can limit gaming machine numbers and they must agree to where gaming machines are placed in their districts. In this way the community can have input into gaming machine numbers and locations.

A corporate society must apply for territorial consent before it establishes new gaming machine venues and increases the number of machines that may be operated at existing venues.

More Information

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