Sinking-lid plan means no new pokies allowed

21:34, May 15 2013

No new pokie machines will be allowed in the Southland district after the Southland District Council adopted a "sinking lid" policy earlier this week.

The council heard submissions on its three-yearly review of gambling venue and TAB venue policies before unanimously voting for a soft sinking lid policy.

A sinking lid policy allows venues to continue operating existing machines, but means no licences for new machines will be granted.

Under the new policy, the council will allow existing machines in one venue to be transferred to another if a business closes or moves premises, if a satisfactory social impact report is completed.

Seven submitters presented their views at the council meeting yesterday afternoon.

Sara Epperson, of the Problem Gambling Foundation, spoke in support of the council adopting a sinking lid policy.

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This could gradually reduce access to machines in the district, which she believed would reduce problem gambling and the cost to society.

However, New Zealand Community Trust marketing manager Sally Ann Hughes recommended the council keep the status quo which allowed businesses to purchase machines with council approval

The trust opposed the proposed sinking lid policy.

The council also heard submissions from Nga Kete Matauranga Pounamu Trust, the Salvation Army and Clubs New Zealand, who supported the sinking lid policy, and from Lions of Ohai/Nightcaps Charitable Trust and the New Zealand Racing Board opposing the policy.

The Invercargill City and Gore District councils have also adopted sinking lid policies.

The Southland Times