The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Problem Gamblers Barred From Casinos, Operators Lose Licences


In the first month of the Gambling Act being in force 90 problem gamblers were barred from the country’s six casinos and five gambling operators lost their gaming machine licences.

The Director of the Department of Internal Affairs’ Gaming and Censorship Regulation Group, Keith Manch, said that all of the Act’s provisions were in force by July 1 and the statistics are for that month.


Mr Manch said that the Act requires all casinos to have gambling harm minimisation policies that include the casinos:

  • identifying problem gamblers
  • issuing exclusion orders preventing identified problem gamblers entering
  • enforcing self-exclusion orders on people who have identified themselves as problem gamblers.

All casinos have their policies in place and the numbers of exclusion orders were: Sky City Auckland 72, Sky City Hamilton 7, Christchurch Casino 9, Sky City Queenstown 1, Wharf Casino (Queenstown) 1, Dunedin Casino 0.

Most of the exclusion orders are from Sky City Auckland. This is not unexpected. Sky City is larger than all the other casinos combined and many more people gamble there. A greater number of exclusion orders is therefore likely.
Gaming machines in pubs and clubs

Despite warnings over many months that the new Act had much stricter licensing requirements than the now repealed Gaming and Lotteries Act, five gaming machine societies did not meet these requirements in the first month and had their gambling operations closed down.

Societies must have a valid, current licence to operate gaming machines. The only exception is if the Department receives a complete renewal application before the existing licence expires and the Department is still investigating that application.

The licensing requirements of the repealed Act were not as explicit and gambling operators could operate on expired licences for extended periods of time.

A society whose machines are turned off can reapply for a new licence but cannot turn its machines back on until the application is approved.

The Gambling Act requires the Department to check individuals’ and organisations’ suitability before it can issue a licence. These checks are likely to take at least several weeks and could take significantly longer if there are problems or it is a complex application.

At the end of that time, the decision might be to decline to issue a new licence.

Gambits, September 2004 available on

These are some of the articles published in the September issue of the Department’s newsletter, Gambits. Copies are available here on the Department’s website: Gambits (Gaming Compliance newsletter)

This issue focuses on bedding down the Gambling Act. Other articles include:
  • a summary of the Gaming and Censorship Regulation Group Enforcement Policy, setting out when the Department will take action and what that action will be
  • cancelling gambling licences can lead to more money for the community; addressing the myth that taking action against gambling operators who break the law harms the community
  • issues the Department could not adequately address under the Gaming and Lotteries Act that will be dealt with as applications are made to renew licences under the Gambling Act
  • much more about compliance issues, licensing of gambling, operating gambling and general information from the Department.

Media contacts:

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

Savaia Stevenson
Communications Coordinator Phone 04 495 9337, Cellular 027 290 4954