Smoking in pokie machine areas

Originally Posted on Thursday Sep 1 15:55:00 BST 2011

The New Zealand Gambling Commission surprised many people recently by allowing the Auckland and Dunedin casinos to have pokie machines in smoking areas.

Critics of this move say that allowing people to smoke while playing the machines will increase gambling problems.

On top of this Auckland’s SkyCity casino is set to build a covered area with protection from the weather.  The area will allow smoking and it is hoped to move around 70 pokie machines into the area.

When smoking was generally banned in pubs and clubs, gambling revenue was seen to drop quite dramatically, so this ruling may be seen as a way of redressing this problem.

However, with an estimated 58% of problem gamblers also being smokers, having to go to another area away from the pokies to smoke, may have deterred some from returning to the machines.

The precedent that was set last year when the gambling commission allowed pokies to be located in a smoking area in a Wellington pub, has been quickly followed by these moves by casinos.

Online pokies can be accessed from a home computer and are very realistic, so any hopes of keeping smoking and gambling apart is a hopeless cause, when punters gambling at home can do exactly as they wish with regards to smoking.

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