Gambling Harm Minimisation Bill Passed

It has been an arduous uphill battle for MP Te Ururoa Flavell, but his Gambling Harm Minimisation Bill has finally been passed. The legislation that has been passed is a far cry from his original proposal, but he is optimistic about its potential effects on the local community.

Shortly after Mr Flavell presented his bill, it was amended by a select committee. According to responsible gambling groups across the country, the ‘watered down’ bill was hardly recognizable, and they asked the author to withdraw it – but Flavell persisted.

“It is a bittersweet moment for me. When I think back to where we came from and the original intent of the bill, of course I am disappointed,” he says. “But, I have chosen to pursue change, and in my view this bill represents a small step in the right direction.”
The Harm Minimisation Bill will changed the way in which poker machines are regulated across the country. It will not only increase the amount of money that pokies donate to community organizations; it will also increase transparency, so that gaming trusts cannot misappropriate funds.

The Department of Internal Affairs supports the passing of the bill, and representatives will work with Flavell to ensure that its terms are enforced throughout the country.

New Zealand Gambling Spending Falls

In New Zealand, gambling spending is on the decline. According to statistics released by the Department of Internal Affairs, Kiwis spent 4% less on gambling than they had in the previous year. Local responsible gambling advocates have taken this to mean that residents are becoming more aware of the potential harms of gambling.

As a result of the fall in spending, several other gambling-related numbers have taken a dive. For example, the number of gaming license holders has fallen to 353 from 359 in 2012. The total number of pokies has also declined. In 2012, there were 18 001 pokies; now, there are just 17 542.

While a decline in spending may be negative for gaming clubs and the gambling industry as a whole, it is positive thing for local residents. Over the course of the past few years, gambling addiction numbers have climbed to an all-time high in New Zealand. Local politicians have been working hard to reduce problem gambling rates, and their efforts are paying off.

The introduction of MP Te Ururoa Flavell’s Harm Reduction Bill seems to have alerted locals to the harms of gambling. The bill has received a great deal of media attention, and it is likely to have discouraged some punters from wagering on pokies in the past year.

Pre-Commitment Proposed for Harm Reduction Bill

MP Te Ururoa Flavell has introduced a number of new provisions to his Harm Reduction Bill. After garnering a great deal of support for the legislation, he has decided that several new responsible gambling methods would benefit the community by reducing problem gambling rates.

Flavell seems to have taken some inspiration from Australia’s federal government. This week, he proposed that pre-commitment and tracking technology is installed on all poker machines in clubs and pubs across the country. Players would be given pre-commitment cards, which would require them to set their own betting limits before they wager. The tracking systems would then ensure that they do not exceed these limits.

According to recent studies, pre-commitment seems to be an effective method to reducing problem gambling. Although it has not been put into practice yet, Australian politicians believe that players will be less likely to exhibit compulsive gambling behaviour when they set their own betting limits.

This is just one of many new provisions that Flavell has introduced. He has also proposed that 80% of pokie profits be returned to the community from which they game via grants. This would ensure that the areas that require problem gambling assistance the most obtain the funding for counselling and aid that they truly need.

Pokies Spending in New Zealand Declines

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.

Sports Fight Harm Reduction Bill

The Harm Reduction Bill, authored by MP Te Ururoa Flavell, has seen a great deal of support thus far. Local residents and city councillors are confident that the bill will improve the community by reducing the potential harm that they could cause. Unfortunately, not everyone sees the bill this way, as sports organizations are fighting the proposed plan for Harm Reduction.

The provision that sports organizations are resisting is one that will give city councillors the right to decide how pokies funds are distributed. Sports groups believe that pokies trusts should be in charge of the funds rather than city councils, and are worried that they will lose their funding as a result of this change.

Hawke’s Bay Roller Derby is just the latest group to lobby against some of the changed proposed by the Harm Reduction Bill. The group states that pokies grants currently provide valuable funding for equipment and services required by players, and the roller derby could greatly suffer is funding were to be cut.

The news comes just days after the New Zealand Rugby Union announced that the Harm Reduction Bill would drive participation fees up by 500%. The group obtains more than 20% of its funding from pokies grants, and the loss of the resource would result in negative changes for the league.

The NZRU and the Roller Derby group are just two organizations that have made submissions opposing this provision. The commerce committee will review these documents this month and present them at a hearing in November.

Sports Organizations Receive $1 Billion from NZ Pokies

In New Zealand, many not-for-profit organizations rely on profits generated by poker machines in order to operator. So, it is no wonder that some groups are upset that the new Harm Reduction Bill aims to give local city councillors the power to decide where grant money goes – as it could leave plenty of sports clubs without funding.According to a new report, sports clubs seem to be so passionate about the Harm Reduction Bill as they have received more than $1 billion from pokies profits over the course of the past seven years. In 2011 alone, rugby clubs received $27 million while football groups were given $10 million.

“The bill doesn’t take away the right of any sports club or local community group to do what they want to,” says MP Te Ururoa Flavell, who authored the bill.

The Harm Reduction Bill is aimed at benefitting the local community; however , sports organizations are worried that it will interfere with their finances. It simply means that sports clubs will have to be less dependent on poker machine profits, finding funding from other resources – but clubs do not seem prepared to take that step.

Problem Gambling Foundation Criticizes Pokies Grant System

The job of New Zealand’s Problem Gambling Foundation is to point out flaws in the country’s gambling market that are detrimental to problem gamblers. The organization is dedicated to bettering the country’s gambling industry by reducing problem gambling rates. Now, the Problem Gambling Foundation has set its sights on pokies grants, stating that the system has failed by creating a dependence on poker machines.

“One of the real addictions that we’ve got in this country are sporting groups and community groups that absolutely rely upon the funding from pokie trusts,” says Graeme Ramsey, chief executive of the Problem Gambling Foundation.

Organizations have become so attached to pokies grants that many are fighting the new Harm Reduction Bill, which will change the pokies grants are awarded. Even though the new bill aims to benefit the country by reducing problem gambling rates, many community groups cannot part with the funding provided by poker machines.

So, it seems that organizations will have to find a new way to generate funding. There are plenty of sources out there, and they will simply have to look a little bit harder to find them.

Hearing Highlights Concerns of Harm Reduction Bill

New Zealand’s Harm Reduction Bill has gained quite a lot of support thus far – but there were always going to be some concerns. Many of these issues were expressed at a recent hearing for the bill, as organizations stepped forward to voice their concerns.

The Harm Reduction Bill provides local city councils across New Zealand with the ability to limit the number of poker machines that exist in a particular jurisdiction. The bill also aims to increase the amount of money that each poker machine donates to charity, which has been a significant source of the bill’s support thus far.

At the hearing, however, many organizations expressed some concerns about the potential funding scheme. While they support the fact that local councils can limit the number of poker machines, they are wary of the same councils allocating funds. Some organizations are worried that their funding will be significantly cut should this become a provision of the Harm Reduction Bill in New Zealand.

So, it seems as though it is back to the drawing board for the commission. Another hearing will be held later in the year to determine the effectiveness of the amendments.

Clubs Campaign Against Harm Reduction Bill

New Zealand’s proposed Harm Reduction Bill has gained a great deal of support over the course of the past few weeks. Unfortunately, not everyone is on board with the idea of limiting the number of poker machines in each city, as sports clubs have started protesting the new bill.

According to a new report in the New Zealand Herald, Maori MP Te Ururoa Flavell – who sponsored the bill – states that organizations with a vested interest in poker machine profits are spreading rumours about the Harm Reduction Strategy. He states that clubs have claimed that sports organizations will not be able to apply for funding, but that is not the case. It seems that they are afraid that they will lose valuable profits from poker machines, and while their bottom line may be in jeopardy, there is no excuse for slander.

Part of the Harm Reduction Bill will cut out poker machine trusts, which distribute a portion of pokies profits back into the community. Instead of using this system, local community leaders will decide who gets to benefit from poker machine profits. This plan has been lauded by most politicians and community organizations, but sports clubs continue to remain unimpressed.

Council Meeting Highlights Unfairness of Pokies Funding

Auckland council has recently held a meeting discuss poker machine funding. It was an interesting event, as a number of shocking revelations were made, prompting the council to rethink the way in which poker machine grants are awarded.

What left council members most disappointed was that public servants were using $40 000 of machine funding to pay for a ‘rich man’s’ sporting event: The Volvo Ocean Race. Racing of this sort is not considering the type of sport that requires funding from poker machines, with youth leagues and community sports supposedly taking precedent.

The tourism board applied for the funding, highlighting another potential concern. When public servants apply for poker machine funding, they seem to be better equipped to file successful applications than community groups who have less experience with funding.

The meeting also dedicated some time to exploring the moral dilemma faced by some community groups when accepting pokies funding. Half of the organizations that receive funding would not be able to survive without it, but half of respondents also noted that there was a moral dilemma presented by taking money generated by pokies and problem gambling profits. Of those surveyed, only 10% of organizations did not accept poker machine funding.