Region's pokie spend up $60k

The pokie spend in Marlborough has jumped almost $60,000 for the first three months of the year compared with the same period last year.

However, spending dropped compared with the last quarter of 2011.

Department of Internal Affairs communications adviser Trevor Henry said that was a common national trend.

"The first quarter is always less than the last quarter," he said.

"Whether people are out and about in summer, or spending less after Christmas, the figures are down."

People in Marlborough spent $2,423,920 on pokie machines from October to December 2001; and $2,346,652 from January to March 2012; a decrease of 3.2 per cent.

That is in keeping with the national average; spending at the 1400 pubs and clubs in New Zealand dropped by almost 8 per cent from January to March this year compared with October to December 2011. The spending is recorded by an electronic monitoring system of non-casino gaming machines, which became fully operational in March 2007.

Clubs of Marlborough chief executive Lee Davis said 37.2 per cent of profits from the 30 gaming machines at the Clubs was required to go back into the community.

"We put our profits towards the $12 million mortgage," Mr Davis said. "Our gaming machine room is there to support the other activities that the Clubs of Marlborough have to offer."

Mr Davis said the amount spent on the machines was not regularly tallied, but there was a definite boost in spending after the earthquakes in Christchurch.

"We all had a lift in Marlborough, and it was thanks to Christchurch," he said.

There were fewer licence holders, gambling venues and gaming machines throughout New Zealand at the end of March compared with 12 months earlier.

The Marlborough Express