You can read PGF Group's submission to the review by clicking here.
They are open to any useful ideas, but have suggested three areas that they want to focus on:
More details about the review, areas of focus and suggestions are at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) website
“Reducing the harm pokies are causing in our communities is something I care deeply about.”
“Pokies are the most harmful form of gambling in Aotearoa New Zealand."
"One in five pokie players are considered at-risk gamblers.”
“Gambling harm presents a widespread risk but tends to affect those who can least afford it. This includes our Māori and Pacific communities, who may already be experiencing financial or social challenges.” - Hon Jan Tinetti, Minister of Internal Affairs, 2022
Our focus remains on enhancing the mana of individuals, families and communities to be free from gambling harm:
“Since the introduction of the Act in 2003, the emphasis on harm minimisation and prevention has been downplayed and weakened. This erosion has come through a series of applications and appeals to the Gambling Commission and to the Department of Internal Affairs itself for license changes, rule changes and the overturning of decisions on venue relocations.”
“These successive decisions have undermined, in some cases, policy decisions made by Territorial Local Authority elected representatives, many of whom feel their hands are tied.” - PGF Group, Briefing to the Incoming Minister, 2020
Host responsibility policies for pokie venues should be fully detailed in the Gambling (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Regulations 2004. That means it will be easier to prosecute a venue for breaches of the policy.
The policy should include a requirement for:
Venues should be required to be trained in host responsibility by an external training provider and not the Class 4 trusts and societies (who own the pokie machines). This could be done by Te Hiringa Hauora/Health Promotion Agency or by one of the services that provide support to people experiencing harm from gambling.
There needs to be regular auditing and inspection (e.g. minimum of every six months) of venues to ensure that host responsibility standards are being met. This may include ‘mystery shopper’ visits, particularly to venues of high risk (i.e. venues with high losses on pokies and located in medium-high to very high deprivation areas).
The gambling environment in venues should be changed. For instance, why are the pokies in dimly lit rooms with no clocks?
Pokie machines are specifically designed to be addictive because they give players unrealistic impressions of the odds of winning, confuse people about how much money they have lost, and encourage sustained periods of gambling – often in the hope of recovering losses. They play on two key neurochemical drivers of behaviour: adrenaline and dopamine.
To reduce harm from pokie machines, PGF suggests the use of some machine features that can reduce harm for the player such as:
The penalties for breaches of host responsibility just aren’t tough enough. It also relies on somebody going into a venue to do an inspection and there are 1,050 venues across NZ. The resource is not available and this makes enforcement weak. There is no deterrent to venues when there are light penalties and poor enforcement.
Further there is a grey area of responsibility in Class 4 regulation between the DIA and the Gambling Commission. This needs to be tightened up so venues know they cannot by-pass the regulator.
PGF suggests that:
We need to close up all the gaps in our current regulations. Paul Barrett’s story tells you why we need change and how the court case exposed some of those gaps. Read Paul's story here.
The most important thing you can do is make a submission before 28 April 2022.
You can complete the feedback form on the DIA website or you can email submission directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you prefer, you can give your feedback to us directly, which we can use in our submission. Click here to complete our feedback form.
A hard copy of our feedback form (and fact sheet) is available by clicking here.