New Zealand’s government is concerned about its citizens becoming obsessed with slot machines (pokies) after seeing a two percent increase in tax revenues for the first quarter of 2011. During the 1Q of 2011, New Zealanders lost $205.1 million on slots, which is $5.2 million more than was lost in the first three months of 2010.
The 1Q of 2011 was the only quarter over the past four years that showed increased revenue from pokie gambling. New Zealand’s government is worried that even a tiny increase could correlate with an increase in the number of gambling addicts.
If the rate continues to rise, the government plans to change New Zealand gambling laws to include Australia’s scheme of ‘pre-commitment’, that restricts the times, amounts and other freedoms to gamble.
The Chief Executive of the New Zealand Lotteries Commission Todd Mcleay, blames the rise in slot machine use on the deadly earthquake which struck the country in late February. However he warns that if the trend proceeds at the same rate, the government will take decisive action.
According to the online gambling news in New Zealand, Mr. Mcleaye said that because of the disaster, some people who survived “feel lucky” and get “positive thoughts” about winning a jackpot “when a lot of other things in their lives may not be so positive.”
Spending on pokie machines in the city of Christchurch, the epicenter of the quake, jumped by $19 million, a 3.2% increase, despite the destruction of nearly 30% of the city’s slot machines.
Foreign based online sportsbooks in New Zealand saw a significant drop in revenues due to damaged telephone and cable lines.
The government is extremely concerned about the well-being of the indigenous Māori people, famous for eating a few of Captain Cook’s sailors. Statistics indicate that gambling is on the rise among the tribe members.
The leader of Nga Tai o te Awa, believes that pokies are a plague brought upon the Māori by European settlers to further degrade their rich cultural heritage.