The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Gamblers spent a little more in 2007/08

17 February 2009

Statistics released today show New Zealanders’ gambling expenditure in 2007/08 increased by less than one per cent.

Releasing the annual gambling expenditure figures, the Department of Internal Affairs Gambling Policy Manager, John Markland, said that spending on the main forms of gambling increased by 0.71 per cent from $2.020 billion in 2006/07 to $2.034 billion in 2007/08. But the 07/08 figure is still less than the peak of $2.039 billion in 2003/04.

“Spending on Lotteries Commission products, racing and sports betting and casinos were all up, while spending on pub and club gaming machines dropped by just over 1 per cent, reversing the 5 per cent increase of the previous year,” Mr Markland said.

Overall spending in 2007/08 on gambling was made up of:

Gambling product
2007/08 Spending (Player Losses)
Increase / Decrease from 2006/07
Racing and sports betting
+ 1.4%
Lotteries Commission products
+ 4.7%
Non-casino gaming machines
- 1.3%
Total spending
$2.034 billion
+ 0.7%

The figures relate to the year ended 30 June 2008 except for racing and sports betting which is for the year to 31 July 2008.

Mr Markland said the increased racing and sports betting continues the recent growth of 4.5 per cent in 2006 and 4.2 per cent in 2007 and was due largely to increased betting on racing.
“This year’s nominal figure is the highest ever for racing and sports betting but, when inflation is taken into account, it is still behind the racing only figure of $232 million in 1989,” he said.

“It’s a similar story for Lotteries Commission products. The 4.7 per cent increase, which reflects some large jackpots, the introduction of Lotto Online, and the 20th birthday promotion, follows a 3 per cent increase in 2006/07. In nominal terms, $346 million is a record for the Commission but when adjusted for inflation is still below the peak years of $288 million in 1998 and 1999.

“The 1.6 per cent increase in casino gambling expenditure reversed the 4.7 per cent decrease from the previous year and was due partly to a return to full performance by the Auckland casino following the completion of construction on the main gaming floor.

“Reduced spending on non-casino gaming machines may reflect economic circumstances, and the impact of the first phase of a social marketing campaign.”

Further details are available in the table Gambling Expenditure Statistics 1984-2008 and the explanatory notes that accompany this media release at:

The Gambling Act 2003 became law on 18 September 2003 with lead-in periods for most of its provisions. The Act came fully into force on 1 July 2004.

Key objectives of the Act are to: control the growth of gambling, prevent and minimise the harm that can be caused by gambling, limit opportunities for crime and dishonesty, and ensure that money from gambling benefits the community.

The amount paid to community purposes from non-casino gaming machines depends not only on the level of gaming machine revenue, but also on the costs taken out, and any misappropriation from that revenue.

“Gaming machine revenue” is the same as “spending” or “expenditure”. It is the amount players lose on the machines.

The number of non-casino gaming machines declined from a peak of 25,221 as at 30 June 2003, to 19,856 as at 30 June 2008. The number of non-casino gaming machine venues declined from 2,122 to 1,552 over the same period. Numbers have declined further since.

All non-casino gaming machines were connected to an electronic monitoring system (EMS) from 9 March 2007. The Department releases EMS data on a quarterly basis, and has recently released figures for the quarter ended 31 December 2008.

Media contact:
John Markland, Manager, Gambling, Racing and Censorship Policy
Phone 04 495 9354; Cellular 027 440 6624

Trevor Henry Communications Advisor,
Phone 04 495 7211; Cellular 027 584 3679