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New Zealand District Limits Gambling Growth

19 May 2004

NEW ZEALAND – (PRESS RELEASE) -- New gaming machine outlets and TAB's will not be granted local authority consent under a sinking-lid policy adopted by the South Taranaki District Council last night.

Under new legislation each council has to develop a gaming venue policy to control the growth of gambling in their area.

The South Taranaki District Council has determined that a sinking-lid gaming venue policy will be used to control, and in time reduce, the number of gaming machine venues and TAB outlets in the district. The Policy doesn't allow any new gaming machine venues or TAB outlets to be established and caps the number of gaming machines allowed in the district.

Existing businesses can repair or replace machines and take them to new premises if they wish but as businesses close the number of machines will reduce as no new gaming machine venues will be permitted said Graham Young Group Manager of Environmental Services.

Cr Ross Dunlop also pointed out that the policy is really very moderate. "It's going to take a long time for these machines to disappear, in fact they may never. It just means there is no growth."

South Taranaki currently has a higher than average ratio of gambling machines to people, with one gaming machine per 96 adults compared to the national average of 1:116.

The Council received six submissions on its draft proposal. The Hawera Police and the Problem Gambling Foundation of New Zealand supported it, while the South Taranaki Club had no real concerns. Hawera resident Jeff Ward, Castle Trust (a charitable gaming machine trust) and the New Zealand Racing Board opposed it.

The policy will be reviewed every three years.

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