Policy sees pokies peter out

Stuff.co 30 July 2013
Fancy a flutter on the pokies?
That could be more of a challenge since Auckland Council passed a sinking lid policy for class four gaming machines.
This will mean when one gaming machine venue closes another one cannot be issued a consent to open.
They will also not be able to relocate from one area to another.
In 2009 the Waitakere City Council implemented a sinking lid policy that had the potential to decrease the 498 pokie machines in 38 venues out west.
Today there are 480 in 36 venues.
Henderson Massey Local Board chairwoman Vanessa Neeson supported the 2009 policy but has since changed her mind.
She says the sinking lid policy will be pointless when SkyCity has the go ahead to put in new machines when the new convention centre is built.
“My concern is that people will go to the casino and the money won’t be going back into the community. I know you can’t stop gambling but pokie machines are particularly harmful. I feel like it’s not a level playing field.”
Mayor Len Brown says his discussions with SkyCity have led to the company agreeing to trial harm minimisation measures such as facial recognition technology which would link to a database of known problem gamblers.
SkyCity has 1647 pokies and under the agreement reached with the Government they can install another 230.