Pokie machine spending down to seven-year low

Last updated 15:41 14/07/2009

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Spending on gaming or "pokie" machines has dropped to a seven-year low, the Department of Internal Affairs says.

In the 12 months to June 30, gaming machine expenditure in 1501 pubs and clubs nationwide fell 5.3 per cent to $889 million, the lowest level since 2002.

The number of licence holders, gambling venues and gaming machines also fell.

Licence holders dropped 7.5 per cent to 384, venues dropped 3.3 per cent to 1501 and gaming machines were down 1.9 per cent to 19,479.

While overall expenditure was down, spending in the three months to June 30 rose 4 per cent.

Internal Affairs gambling compliance director Mike Hill said Player Information Displays (PIDs), which became mandatory on all gaming machines at the beginning of the month, had little impact on the number of machines.

PIDs were a "harm prevention measure" that let people know how long they had been playing and how much they had won or lost, he said.

They also prompted players to take breaks.

"Despite suggestions from the gambling sector that the deadline for PIDs could not be achieved in time and that many venues would drop out, 99.4 per cent of all machines were licensed by the end of June to run PIDs software," he said.

-NZPA

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