Bill to tackle gambling harm watered down

17:00, Jun 17 2013
Te Ururoa Flavell
Te Ururoa Flavell

The Government is promising more reform of non-casino gambling after a watered-down bill was reported back to Parliament yesterday.

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain and Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell are due to announce a harm-minimisation package tomorrow.

That comes after a weakened version of Mr Flavell's Gambling Harm Reduction Bill was reported back from the commerce select committee.

Chris Tremain
Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain.

Prime Minister John Key said National and the Maori Party had found "some common ground".

"I think the way Te Ururoa would see it is that . . . he's got some wins."

The bill aimed to return the proceeds of pokie machines to the communities they were made in and give local authorities more control over gambling operations.

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But the committee rejected the plan to return 80 per cent of profits, instead allowing for regulations to ensure more of the proceeds returned to the same geographical area.

It also ruled out imposing the use of pre-commitment, player tracking, or other harm-minimisation devices, saying it would be "premature to mandate specific approaches".

And it ruled out removing horse racing from the list that could receive gambling profits.

Labour reserved its decision on supporting the bill but the Greens will now vote against it.

Fairfax Media