Hawkes Bay Today 15th September 2010
The number of pokie machines in Hastings will be slowly reduced under a “sinking lid” policy approved last week. Hastings gamblers lost $16 million a year on pokie machines in the year to June – almost $44,000 every day. Across Hawke’s Bay, gamblers lost more than $100,000 a day on pokies, according to Internal Affairs figures. The new policy means gaming machines can’t be replaced if they’re removed or the venue closes down, and no new licences will be granted. The move was a relief to problem gambling services and health agencies, who said more pokies would lead to more harm. But community and sports groups said the change would cut critical funding for the community.