Real life stories

Spotlight on Pokies - Rotorua

This is the first of a series of stories where we shine a light on pokies in pubs, clubs and TABs in a few districts around the country.
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First up we head to the sulphur city of Rotorua (or ‘Rotovegas’ as it’s called by some of the locals). Rotorua is one of over 30 districts without a “sinking lid “policy on pokies – so machine numbers can potentially increase. Currently in Rotorua, there are 373 pokie machines in 25 venues, and last year the number of machines went up.

It’s not just the number of machines (on average one for every 141 adults in the district), but where they are located. Twenty-four of the 25 venues are in the most deprived areas of Rotorua, according to the New Zealand Index of Deprivation. This means that the money that goes into these pokies is coming from the pockets of those who can least afford it.

On average, every pokie machine in Rotorua District makes $64,369 per year. Compare that to the median individual income for people in the District of 28,000 a year, it means that a pokie machine is making more every year than an individual living in Rotorua.

Approximately $24 million was lost on pokies in pubs, clubs and TABs in Rotorua District last year - about $66,000 each day, and around $2.5 million more than the previous year.

We produce factsheets about Class 4 pokies (pokies in pubs, clubs and TABs) in every Territorial Local Authority around Aotearoa which you can download from our website here.