Waikato may be waking up to drawbacks of pokies

JENNA LYNCH
Last updated 05:00 27/10/2012

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Waikato gamblers have dropped fewer hard-earned coins into pokie machines in the past three months, with a 10 per cent drop in gaming machine revenue in the area.

According to new Internal Affairs figures, punters put just over $17 million into pokie machines in the Waikato, just under $2m less than in the previous quarter.

Problem Gambling Foundation of NZ (PGFNZ) spokeswoman Andree Froude said the decrease in spending could be just "a seasonal fluctuation", but it also could mean people were becoming aware of the dangers of pokie machines.

Ms Froude said although it was "encouraging" to see a drop in spending, $17m was still a big sum to gamble.

"It's a huge amount of money. It seems astronomical. But that is the money that is lost on these pokie machines."

Froude said the foundation advocated a national sinking lid policy, where once a pokie machine is removed from the community, it may not be replaced.

"We want to see sinking lid policies in place so less money is being sucked out of these communities," she said.

Nationwide, gaming machine spending was down 3.8 per cent in the three months to the end of September compared with the same period last year.

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- Waikato Times

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