INDEPENDENT NEWS

Gaming Review – Summary Of Key Decisions

Published: Thu 18 Oct 2001 05:17 PM
Gaming Review - Summary Of Key Decisions
18 October 2001 - EMBARGOED UNTIL 4 PM
Gaming Review - Background
- The Review was based on comprehensive analysis, research, and consideration of approximately 1,300 public submissions.
- A synopsis of submissions, as well as individual submissions, are available on the Department of Internal Affairs website www.dia.govt.nz
Key Themes
Four key themes underpin the Government decisions:
- Gambling will be primarily used to raise funds for community purposes
- The harm caused by gambling will be minimised
- There will be local involvement in decisions about the availability in communities of more "risky" forms of gambling
- There will be controls on the growth of gambling
The Responsible Gambling Bill
- Government expects the Responsible Gambling Bill to be introduced before Christmas.
- The Bill will reflect the principle that gamblers, gambling operators and the Government should all act responsibly and with integrity.
- The Bill will replace the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1977 and the Casino Control Act 1990.
- The Racing Act 1971 will remain as separate legislation.
- Specific changes to be introduced by the Bill are set out below.
Casinos
- No more casinos will be licensed. (as previously announced)
- Existing casinos will not be allowed to expand their gambling operations.
- Community groups will be recognised as parties to casino re-licensing hearings.
- Decisions on casino re-licensing will be based on social impacts as well as economic impacts.
Gaming Machines
- The number of gaming machines on any site will be limited. In general:
- new sites will be restricted to nine gaming machines
- existing sites will retain the current limit of 18 machines.
(NB This provision will be retrospective to 18 October 2001 - see Gaming Machine Transition Issues below).
- Once the Bill is law, communities will be able to veto new gaming machine sites and proposals to add machines to existing sites. The Government will consult Local Government New Zealand on the best way to do this.
(Also see Gaming Machine Transition Issues below)
- The Minister will have discretion to vary gaming machine numbers upward (subject to the community veto). This will apply only for clubs on non-commercial premises (eg rugby clubs)
- Improved accountability measures will be introduced to ensure that gaming machines are operated with integrity.
- Non-casino gaming machines will be monitored electronically (this will be phased in gradually). This will simplify management and auditing and help to minimise theft and dishonesty. The Government will make decisions early next year on options for implementing electronic monitoring.
- Pubs and clubs that run gaming machines will not be allowed to call themselves “casinos”, after an appropriate transition period.
Gaming Machine Transition Issues
- Gaming machine sites established on or after 18 October 2001 will be subject retrospectively to:
- the nine machine cap
- the community veto
- These provisions mean that once the Bill passes into law, operators of gaming machine sites licensed on or after 18 October 2001:
- will be required to remove any machines in excess of nine, and
- may be required to remove all gaming machines at the site if the community exercises its veto right.
- Gaming machine sites existing on or before 17 October 2001:
- will not be subject to the nine machine cap
- will not be subject to the community veto before the Bill is passed
- will be subject to the community veto after the Bill is passed
Transition Issues - Possible Alliance Amendments
- The Coalition Government has agreed that during the Committee stages of the Bill the Alliance may put amendments to the House which would have the effect of limiting the number of machines to the numbers at announcement date through mechanisms such as, imposing either a retrospective cap on the total number of machines or a retrospective local government power of veto on expansions of existing sites. If the House agrees with such retrospective provisions, no compensation will be payable by the Crown to any person for loss or damage.
New Zealand Lotteries Commission and Lottery Grants Board
- The Lotteries Commission will:
- remain in public ownership (as previously announced)
- not be allowed to expand into high-risk types of gambling
- continue to pay its profits to the Lottery Grants Board for distribution for community purposes.
Racing/Sports Betting
- The TAB will:
- retain its current monopoly on race and sports betting
- continue to be the only New Zealand organisation allowed to operate remote interactive gambling (e.g. via the Internet)
- be allowed to establish agencies in casinos.
- The profits from TAB betting will continue to be distributed to the racing industry.
- The TAB will be permitted to operate gaming machines in TABs and racing clubs for the benefit of the racing industry.
Problem Gambling Management
- Problem gambling will be managed as a public health issue. Prevention and treatment programmes will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Health. (as previously announced)
- Casinos, gaming machine operators, the Lotteries Commission and the TAB will pay a levy that will fund the Ministry of Health problem gambling programmes. The amount of the levy will be determined annually.
- Gambling age limits will be:
- 18 years for the TAB, non-casino gaming machines, and Instant Kiwi
- 20 years for entry to, and gambling in, casinos.
The New Regulatory Regime
- The Department of Internal Affairs will carry out most gambling regulatory functions.
- Given that there will be no further casinos or expansions of gambling operations of existing casinos, the Casino Control Authority will be disestablished.
- An independent person appointed as required by the Minister of Internal Affairs, will undertake activities that require an independent, semi-judicial function (e.g. hearing applications for the renewal of casino licences).
- All gambling (except for existing casinos) will be non-commercial.
- The criteria for licensing gambling will be stricter for activities that are potentially harmful or involve a lot of money.

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