The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Rules for preventing harm caused by gambling


    The December 2004 issue of the Department of Internal Affairs’ newsletter, Gambits, focuses on new rules for preventing and minimising the harm caused by gambling and summarises some of the research on which these rules are based.

    For example, one aspect of gambling that few people are aware of is that about one in five New Zealanders who regularly gamble on gaming machines has a gambling problem. Overseas, the rates are similar or even worse.

    In this issue, the Director of the Gambling Research Centre at Auckland University of Technology, Professor Max Abbott, summarises his 1999 research, which led to the review of gambling law that produced the Gambling Act (pages 3-4).

    Professor Abbott stated that only a small percentage of the total population gambles regularly (i.e. once a week or more) on gaming machines, on track betting or in casinos. However, of those that do, “an extraordinarily high proportion experience problems”.

    The research showed the risk of problem gambling is highest with gaming machines, and it is just as high whether the machines are in casinos or in pubs or clubs.

    In June 1999 there were 13,812 gaming machines in pubs and clubs and gambling operators’ made profits of $360 million a year from those machines. There were also two casinos and their profits were $294 million.

    In September this year there were 22,294 machines in pubs and clubs and annual profits had increased to $1.035 billion. There were six casinos and profits were $484 million.

    The Director of the Department’s Gaming and Censorship Regulation Group, Keith Manch, said that the Gambling Act’s provisions for gaming machines are stricter than for other gambling because machines cause most harm.

    In addition to Professor Abbott’s article Gambits includes articles about:

    • harm minimisation regulations (page 5)
    • a review of casinos’ harm minimisation policies (page 6)
    • 374 problem gamblers being excluded from casinos since 1 July 2004 (page 7)
    • guidelines for harm minimisation policies for gaming machines in pubs and clubs (page 7).

    Other articles that have not previously been covered in the media include:
    • action against money laundering in casinos (page 11)
    • new rules for disposal of gaming machines (page 12)
    • a new mandatory court penalty that would see all of a gambling operator’s licences automatically cancelled if it is convicted (page 13)
    • guidelines about what are suitable authorised purposes for grants from gaming machine operators (page 15)
    • gaming machine licence applications need to improve (pages 18 and 20)
    • pubs and clubs will not be able to call themselves casinos (page 19)
    • gaming machine venues switching between gambling operators (page 19)
    • $68,000 not banked (page 21)
    • lottery draws do not have to be supervised by police (page 22).

    Electronic copies of Gambits are available from the Department’s website at: Gambits (Gaming Compliance newsletter).

    Media contact:

    Keith Manch
    Director Gaming and Censorship Regulation Phone 04 495 9449, Cellular 027 445 6420

    Vincent Cholewa
    Communications Advisor Phone 04 495 9350, Cellular 027 272 4270