Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the proposed changes to our gambling venues policy.
On 14 February 2019 the Community and Culture Committee adopted a ‘sinking lid’ policy on gambling venues and gaming machines. This means no new gambling venues will be allowed to set up in Tauranga, and no additional machines will get approval to operate – so over time, the number of venues and machines will slowly decline, if venues shut down or give up some of their machines.
The new Gambling Venues Policy will take effect on 14 March 2019. The policy will be uploaded to our website then – until then the policy is available in the committee meeting report below.
Media release – Council adopts ‘sinking lid’ policy on gambling venues and gaming machines
Committee report – Community and Culture Committee (Agenda part 1 and 2)
The Gambling Act 2003 and Racing Act 2003 regulate gambling in New Zealand. These Acts aim to minimise harm from gambling, facilitate responsible gambling and ensure money from gambling benefits the community. Councils must have a policy that sets the number and location of stand-alone TAB venues (where people can place bets on sports and racing), venues with gaming machines (aka pokies), and the overall number of gaming machines.
We are proposing some changes to our policy, including to introduce a ‘sinking lid’ approach. On this page is a summary of the policy and the changes we’re proposing; and you can read the full detail in the pdfs below before letting us know if you think we got this right by making a submission.
Have your say by 5pm on Friday, 16 November 2018
Statement of proposal (179kb pdf) Draft Gambling Venues Policy 2019 (with mark-ups) (3mb pdf)
Social impact assessment (1mb pdf)
Have your say on the draft Gambling Venues Policy
This is a formal consultation. Hearing of submissions will take place on 11 December 2018. We’ll use your feedback to propose a final revised policy for adoption by Council early 2019.
If you have any questions please contact the strategic policy and planning team on 07 577 7000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The rules as they stand
Our current Gambling Venues Policy restricts the number of gaming machines that can operate in Tauranga to one machine per 220 resident population. This means that as the population increases, the number of gaming machines can increase too. The policy doesn’t restrict the number of gambling venues; so as long as there are gaming machines available based on the population ratio, new gaming machine venues can open. There is also no restriction on the number of stand-alone TAB venues (standalone means where betting is the primary function of the venue – not the small TAB counters in pubs for example).
For a venue to gain consent to operate gaming machines, it must obtain approval from council, and then the Department of Internal Affairs may grant a licence. For a TAB venue to open and operate, it must also obtain approval from council.
The policy restricts the location where venues can operate, to within commercial and industrial zones identified in the Tauranga City Plan. The policy allows venues to relocate with their machines to another site if they must vacate their current premises for reasons outside of their control (e.g. the site is being redeveloped, or their lease is terminated).
When reviewing the policy, Council must have regard to the social impact of gambling in Tauranga. We commissioned a social impact assessment which is available at the top of this page.
The Gambling Act 2003 and Racing Act 2003 state that a portion of the proceeds from these types of gambling must be returned to the community each year. This provides funding to entities such as sports codes, organisations and clubs, the racing industry, community organisations or club memberships.
We are proposing to make some changes the policy, including adopting a ‘sinking lid’ approach.
Proposed changes to the policy, and why we want to make them
Proposed change: Do not give approval for any new gaming machine gambling venues (Class 4 venues e.g. pubs or clubs), or stand-alone TAB venues (for sports and racing betting), to be established in the city. No new venues will be able to set up in Tauranga.
Why: This means the number of venues can only stay the same, or decrease. This is often referred to as a ‘sinking lid’ policy, as each time a venue stops operating machines, the total number of venues will decrease, and cannot increase. We believe this is will help control the growth of gambling and minimise the harm caused by gambling, while still enabling people who wish to participate in responsible gambling to do so.
Proposed change: Do not give approval for any additional gaming machines to operate in the city. Venues with licensed machines can keep theirs, but not add any.
Why: This means the number of machines can only stay the same, or decrease (‘sinking lid’). This will also help control the growth of gambling and minimise the harm caused by gambling, while still enabling people who wish to participate in responsible gambling to do so.
Proposed change: Existing venues relocating within the city will only be able to establish within commercial and industrial areas (as per the current policy), but also more than 100m from residential zones with high social deprivation as defined by the NZDep2013 index of deprivation.
Why: Evidence suggests that having gambling venues and machines close to residential areas with higher social deprivation increases the risk of gambling-related harm. This proposed additional restriction will go some way to addressing this gambling harm risk factor.
Proposed change: Amend the objectives to reflect the policy’s intent to minimise harm from gambling in general.
Why: The current policy objective is about minimising the harm caused by Class 4 gambling (pokies) – not gambling in general. This change will mean the policy's objectives include betting on sports and racing at TAB venues.
We’re also proposing some other minor changes to ensure consistency with the proposed ‘sinking lid’ and location restrictions.
You can find more information on these proposed changes and their pros and cons in the statement of proposal pdf at the top of this page.