Gaming machines cap reduced

Manawatu District councillors have voted to reduce the cap on the number of gaming machines allowed in the district.

However, the number of machines could actually rise.

Submissions were presented at yesterday's strategic planning and policy committee meeting in relation to the three-year review of the gambling venues policy.

The cap on the number of machines in the district was cut from 117 to 105.

Mayor Margaret Kouvelis supported cutting the number to 105, while Cr Andrew Quarrie sought a cap of 110. The majority agreed with Kouvelis.

The actual number of machines in the district at present is 102 across seven venues.

Quarrie felt the cap should be at a level above the machines currently in use to ensure any new venue had the ability to install gaming machines and "play on an even playing field".

Several submitters including the Salvation Army, MidCentral Health and the Problem Gambling Foundation had advocated for a "sinking lid policy", which would have the capped number continuously dropping to those in current use.

Jarrod True, from the NZ Racing Board, called for the cap of 117 to remain. He said his organisation believed there were plenty of measures to ensure gamblers were protected.

Manawatu Standard