Govt unveils gambling reform

KATE CHAPMAN
Last updated 14:05 19/06/2013

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The Government has unveiled plans to reform non-casino gambling.

The package is a watered down version of the reforms put forward by the Maori Party under their governance agreement with National.

But Maori MP Te Ururoa Flavell says the compromise is about "practical politics".

"We'll take the gain as a starting point and we'll keep fighting into the future," he said.

He said he was pleased to have got to this point.

"(But) we compromised sure, no doubt about that."

Changes aim to increase the amount of money that goes to the community, increase transparency and remove red tape.

Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain said the system for allowing bars and clubs to have pokies was very complicated.

The reforms would simplify that.

There will also be changes to the way grants are awarded to community groups.

"I also propose to lift the minimum rate of return to the community over time."

Every 1 percent increase in return would contribute $7 million extra to the community.

The top society currently returns 46 per cent, the lowest around 37.

Tremain said he wanted to get the average up to about 45 per cent over time.

"I know the public has real concerns over conflicts of interest in the sector. To tackle this I will introduce legislation to capture and prosecute rorts more easily."

The Department of Internal Affairs will be able to cancel licences as a penalty.

Alternatively, clubs and bars will be able to get longer licences where they show best practice.

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