Government takes action to reduce gambling harm from pokies

Internal Affairs

The Government is announcing today changes to strengthen the requirements in venues which have pokie (gambling) machines to reduce the harm they cause people.

“The changes focus on reducing harm caused by pokies, which can affect both those people gambling and their whānau. In short, they would make the ‘host responsibility’ requirements on pokie venues clearer, stronger, and more enforceable.” Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti said.

The changes to pokies harm minimisation regulations will include:

  • Mandatory annual training for all staff dealing with gamblers, ensuring that staff in pokies venues are better trained.
  • New requirements around the steps venues must follow to identify harmful gambling, such as regular sweeps and recording signs of gambling harm.
  • Two new rules around venue design that will support harm minimisation by ensuring that staff can better monitor ATMs and pokie machines are less visible.
  • A range of new infringement offences to help penalise those who fail to comply with harm minimisation regulations.

“I expect that the new harm minimisation regulations for pokies will be in place in the first half of 2023.

“Pokies are known to be the most harmful form of land-based gambling in Aotearoa, so I’m really pleased we are making progress with strengthening the harm minimisation rules.

“These changes will help make sure that pokies venues are identifying and acting upon harmful gambling consistently and more often.

They have been designed to be realistic to implement for the Class 4 gambling sector. I have also asked that the Department of Internal Affairs work with sector representatives, where appropriate, on some of the implementation details of the changes.

“I want to thank everyone who provided their feedback on the public discussion document. The submissions were invaluable in developing and informing the final changes.” Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti said.

A summary of submissions on the public discussion document is now available at