No pokie machines in rebuild, Mission says

Christchurch Press 11 April 2012
A complete pokie ban should be introduced in rebuilt central Christchurch, including the removal of 500 gaming machines from the casino, the Methodist Mission says. Mission executive director Mary Richardson said pokies caused significant harm and their effects were felt mostly by low-income people. “It not only impacts on individuals, but their families and communities as well,” she said. “One in four regular pokie players has a gambling problem. Let’s put people before pokies and build a city that benefits us all, instead of causing harm to a significant portion of the population.” There are 1414 pokies legally operating in 104 approved venues in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula, the Department of Internal Affairs says. Richardson said the recent anti-gambling stance by the Christchurch City Council, which bans quake-hit bars from transferring gaming machines to new premises, was the first step towards a pokie-free city. Problem Gambling Foundation national public health manager Tony Milne also called for rebuilt Christchurch to be pokie-free.