Christchurch Pubs Celebrate Being Pokie-Free

When it comes to entertainment in New Zealand, pokies have become a popular form of leisure entertainment and many clubs and pubs depend on the income generated by the machines to cover their operating costs. However, several venues across Christchurch have refused to host pokies as part of a new campaign called ‘Proud to be Pokies-Free’.

Anglican Life and the Problem Gambling Foundation have joined forces to launch the campaign, which celebrates venues that refuse to host pokies. They want to show pub owners that they can be successful without poker machines, and many operators have already jumped on board with the campaign.

“We can rebuild our city without pokie machines,” said National Public Health Manager Tony Milne.

The campaign seems to be especially crucial in a city like Christchurch, which has the chance to rebuild itself. Now is the ideal time to start over, without a dependence on pokies – and Proud to be Pokies-Free aims to make that happen.

Currently, there are just five clubs across Christchurch which support the cause. However, it is likely that more will hop on board in the future.

Christchurch Upholds Sinking Lid Policy

After the devastating earthquake hit Christchurch last year, gambling rates soared. Despite there being fewer poker machines in the area overall, more and more residents found themselves compelled to spend their money on gambling activities.

36 gaming venues across the area were damaged due to the earthquake. 21 gaming venues have closed since the disaster happened. Regardless, gambling rates are still up, but club owners still want to lift the ban on new pokies.

Some pubs and clubs with damaged machines requested that the sinking lid policy on pokies be lifted so that they could get their machines back; others wanted to relocate their machines. In either case, the local government refused, upholding the sinking lid policy in order to protect pokies players from harm.

A sinking lid policy not only bans the installation of new poker machines across a city. It also seeks to reduce the overall number of poker machines over time. This is not only beneficial for reducing problem gambling rates, but also ensuring that venues get used to depending less and less on poker machine revenue.