Timaru District Council

Have your say on pokies in Timaru.

What is happening?

    Timaru District Council is currently reviewing its Class 4 gambling venue policy. The Council is receiving submissions on its proposed policy until 5pm on Friday 11 November 2022.

    You can provide your feedback to the Council here.

    What is the council proposing?

    Timaru District Council has reviewed the Gambling Venue Policy and believes that no changes are necessary at this time. However, they have also listed introducing a sinking lid as a potential policy option for this review.

    What do we think?

    Timaru District Council is one of only six councils in New Zealand that has base requirements under the Gambling Act. This means the Council is not taking any further measures to restrict gambling activity and minimise any gambling harms within their district.

    According to the Department of Internal Affairs, as at June 2022, Timaru has 13 Class 4 venues and 166 pokies in the district. The Council’s current policy allows for more venues to open and more pokies to be installed. Given that Timaru has the highest spend on pokies per adult in the Canterbury region, we are encouraging Council to adopt a sinking lid policy and prohibit relocations or club mergers. A sinking lid is the best policy to control the growth of gambling and minimise harm.

    32 of the 67 TLAs around New Zealand have already introduced sinking lid policies. This is partly driven by strong public opinion about harm and partly TLA’s concern to promote community wellbeing. This is consistent with the purpose of the Gambling Act 2003 and section 4 where the definition of gambling harm includes harm to society at large.

    Our recommendations on pokie policies

    PGF Group recommends that Gambling Venue policies should include the following three provisions:

    1. A ban on any new venues. No permit will be given to operate any new venue or club in the council area if that venue proposes having pokies - including TAB venues.
    2. No relocations. If a venue with pokie machines is forced to close or voluntarily closes, the council will not permit the pokies to be relocated to any venue within the council area.
    3. No club mergers. There will be no merging of club pokies under any circumstances.

Timaru Pokie Stats

According to the Department of Internal Affairs, as at 31 December 2021, around $10 million was lost on pokies in Timaru alone. In 2020, $8.7 million was lost on pokies.

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Frequently Asked Questions