The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Fewer Gambling Operators


The number of licensed gambling operators in New Zealand pubs and clubs dropped by almost 13.5 per cent per cent in the year to 31 March 2007, according to gambling licensing statistics compiled by the Department of Internal Affairs. There were 6.6 per cent fewer venues in the same period and 3.4 per cent fewer gaming machines.

Machine numbers have been declining since they peaked in June 2003 before the passing of the Gambling Act, which introduced a much stricter licensing regime and reduced limits on the number of gaming machines allowed in venues.

The Department’s Director of Gambling Compliance, Mike Hill, said the decline in the March 2007 quarter was expected as the installation of the Electronic Monitoring System (EMS) for gaming machines neared completion.

“It was simply not viable for some gambling operators to remain in the sector under the new electronic environment brought in by the Gambling Act,” Mike Hill said.

“EMS enables the Department to track and monitor gaming machine operations, ensuring the integrity of games and the accurate accounting of money. It also enhances management information and the ability to better manage gambling operations.

“From March 19 it became illegal for pubs and clubs to operate gaming machines not connected to EMS and a number of venues chose not to continue. From now on I would expect numbers to be fairly stable.”

In the three months to March 31, 2007, licence holders declined 6.7 per cent on the December 06 quarter, from 476 to 444, venues by 3.5 per cent, from 1666 to 1607 and gaming machines by 1.05 per cent, from 20,518 to 20,302.

Licensed gambling operations in pubs and clubs
Date Licence holders Venues Gaming machines
31 March 2007 444 1607 20,302
31 December 2006 476 1666 20,518
30 September 2006 481 1676 20,571
30 June 2006 496 1701 20,739
31 March 2006 513 1721 21,026
31 December 2005 526 1747 21,343
30 September 2005 535 1770 21,684
30 June 2005 553 1801 21,846
31 March 2005 568 1838 22,159
31 December 2004 584 1850 22,231
31 December 2003 672 2031 22,734
30 June 2003 1 699 2122 25,221
1. Machine numbers peaked in the quarter before the Gambling Act was passed.

Further information, including numbers of venues and machines by territorial authority and the changes in these numbers, is available from the Department’s website:

The Department will commence publishing EMS data, including gaming machine proceeds by territorial local authority area, with the quarterly gambling licensing statistics, ending 30 June 2007.

Media Contact:
Trevor Henry, communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 7211; cell 0275 843 679