Timaru District struggles with gaming machine limits

Timaru District councillors voted to keep the number of gaming machines for new venues limited to seven, a lower limit than the Gambling Act allows. This follows a call from Community and Public Health, a local public interest organization, to implement a “strong sinking lid policy” regarding the number of gaming machines.

Community and Public Health had argued that “a sinking lid means that no new license for gaming machines can be issued, and machines cannot be transferred to a new pub or owner if the venue closes. The strongest sinking lid policy does not allow any relocations or club mergers under any circumstances.”

Moreover, Sarah Campagnolo of the Problem Gambling Foundation told councillors that she believed about 80 percent of problem gamblers would never get help “because of the shame involved… People don’t talk until they’ve hit rock bottom.”

In the end, the councillors decided to set the maximum number of machines per venue at seven.

The Timaru District currently has 14 venues with 165 machines.