After months of deliberation, Auckland City Council has decided to passed a sinking lid policy on poker machines. Over the course of the next few years, Auckland will see a decline in the number of pokies throughout the country.
Councillors have spent the past few months reviewing submissions from other 10 000 sources. Responsible gambling group No More Pokies gathered 9000 submissions in support of the sinking lid policy, showing overwhelming support from local residents.
A number of provisions have been put in place in order to ensure that the number of pokies is reduced over time. Firstly, clubs owners that choose to relocate cannot take their pokies with them and they cannot offload the licenses to other operators. Clubs that merge can only host 5/6s of their combined poker machines; the rest of the games must be discarded.
Experts believe that problem gamblers will feel less compelled to engage in compulsive behaviour if there are fewer opportunities to gamble. As such, it is hoped that a decline in poker machine numbers will help to reduce gambling spending and problem gambling rates across Auckland.