New Zealand’s Selwyn District Council is not only reviewing its gambling policies but is engaging with the public to get them right.
When Selwyn District Council in New Zealand adopted a Gambling Policy in 2004 they probably didn’t think they’d need to revisit the issue just ten years later. However in a move designed to bring the district into line with the rest of the country the municipality has announced it will be undergoing a process of public consultation on the matter, particularly as it pertains to “pokies”, the electronic poker machines so popular in the country.
Electronic Poker Limits Set By Kiwis
• Selwyn council propose new limits on pokies
• New Zealand gambles $2bn a year
• Mobile betting still illegal but popular
Kiwis spend more than $2bn on gambling per-annum despite there being only 7 casinos in the country, and online gambling sites in New Zealand being illegal save for some closely regulated lottery and sports betting opportunities. The poker machines are thus perhaps the most likely form of gambling to be undertaken by an adult population 40% of which are said to gamble at least once a week, however the machines are still contentious which explains Selwyn’s softly-softly approach.
At present the number of machines in the district is limited to a scant 1 machine per 300 people, which was, frankly, entirely adequate a decade ago when the local population barely reached 30,000, but now that number has increased to 50,000 and new caps are felt necessary. Whilst at present there are 82 machines in the district the new proposals would cap that number from rising above 111, as well as prohibiting machines in residential areas. This would be a ratio of one machine to every 450 people, well below the national average.
The consultation with the public will begin on November 19th with members of the council willing to both explain the policy and answer questions from the public at the Selwyn Central Community Board meeting in the district council offices, with another bite at the cherry at the Darfield Library and Service Center on the 24th. The public have until the 12th of December to make their feelings known although gambling news outlets expect the vast majority will be supportive of the new limitations.