Public Health Hauora Whānui

PGF Services has a dedicated health promotion team who work in the community to raise awareness of gambling harm.

PGF Services has a dedicated health promotion team who work in the community to raise awareness of gambling harm.

Our team provide:

  • Education and training on identifying and screening from gambling harm
  • Advocacy work, aiming to achieve effective and caring policies that minimise the harm from gambling in New Zealand
  • Support for gambling venues to provide a safe environment
  • Stalls at community events
  • Presentations to workplaces, community groups, and other organisations
  • Assistance with workplace gambling policies
  • A specialised library with printable fact sheets.

One of our key areas of focus is communities, particularly those where the need is greatest, ensuring our public health work supports harm minimisation and promotes wellbeing. Communities provide the platform where we can start to make a difference and advocate for change through engagement, collaboration and shared goals.

Gambling policy in our communities

A significant part of the public health work we do is working with Territorial Local Authorities (TLAs) or councils when they consult with communities on their gambling policies. Under the Gambling Act (2003), councils are required to review their Class 4 gambling and TAB policies every three years. (Class 4 gambling is pokies in pubs, clubs, bars and TABs). This gives us the opportunity to engage with councils, community members and champions, and to foster discussions about minimising gambling harm.

We want councils to introduce strong ‘sinking lid’ policies for pokie machines in their communities. That means when a venue closes, pokie machines cannot be transferred to a new pub or owner and no new licenses can be issued. This ensures that, over time, the number of pokie machines and venues will decline. We also want councils to prohibit venue relocations and the merger of clubs with pokie machines. PGF makes written and verbal submissions to councils to advocate for strong and effective policy that will reduce the harm from gambling in our communities. There are five times as many pokie machines in our poorer communities than in our more affluent communities so the money lost on pokies is coming from people who really can’t afford to be losing it. Currently, a sinking lid policy with no venue relocations or club mergers is the strongest policy we have available to us.

A short video on sinking lids

What can I do?

Keep an eye out for when your local council is reviewing its gambling policy and have your say! Local pokie policy