Across New Zealand, politicians are throwing their support behind a new Harm Reduction Bill. This newly proposed legislation aims to reduce the potential harm that can be caused by pokies, by reducing the overall number of pokies in the country. Although the bill has yet to be passed, it seems to be working already, as Kiwis are spending less on poker machines.
According to statistics, pokies spending in New Zealand has dropped by 3.1% across the country. In 2011, New Zealand pokie players spent $866 million and these numbers dropped to $844 million by the time 2012 had ended.
Gaming experts speculate that the decline in pokies spending is likely due to the Harm Reduction Bill. Even though its provisions have yet to take effect, the bill has received a great deal of press in the local media. It has brought attention to the potential harms of poker machine gambling and it seems that this news alone was enough to get many residents to adjust their spending habits.
The drop in spending could also be attributed to the overall decline in poker machines across New Zealand. 463 pokies were removed from the community in 2012, as a result of local sinking lid policies. With fewer pokies to play, some residents are likely to have stopped playing altogether, contributing to the decline in spending.