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New Zealand Slots Numbers Down Slightly

11 April 2005

NEW ZEALAND – (PRESS RELEASE) -- 18 months after new Gambling Act – slight drop in Akl regional pokies no's – some areas increase

The latest statistics of pokie machine numbers show that, in the 18 months since the Gambling Act came into force, there has been a 3% drop in machine numbers across the Auckland Region – now 6,741 machines.

While Auckland City has shown an 11% drop in pokie numbers, Papakura, Franklin, North Shore and Waitakere have all seen significant increases.

North Shore City, once the area of the country with the least pokies per head of population, has seen a massive 28% increase in machine numbers since the Gambling Act commenced, with one pokie for every 227 adult residents now.

The Trusts that own the machines seem to be relocating them from Auckland City to most other surrounding areas, except Manukau City which has a pro-active policy restricting growth in gambling similar to Auckland's.

Auckland Region's overall drop in pokie numbers is similar to the national average reduction.

The analysis of the March 31st, 2005, figures was produced by gambling reform group GamblingWatch.

GamblingWatch co-ordinator Dave Macpherson said "while it is pleasing to see Auckland and Manukau Cities leading the way in responsibly controlling gambling, it is disappointing to see previous shining lights like Waitakere and North Shore moving in the wrong direction."

"Controlling gambling harm is supposed to be the object of the Gambling Act, and with the local Councils responsible for policies governing the siting of venues and the numbers of machines they can have, there is obviously a mismatch between policy and practice in some localities."

"We hope that the affected Councils will review their policies in a responsible manner in the near future."

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