Minister to focus on future of non-casino gambling

  • Peter Dunne
Internal Affairs

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne has announced a number of decisions affecting the gambling sector.

Mr Dunne told the Hospitality NZ conference in Nelson today while he was increasing some gambling operators’ fees and reviewing the minimum amount that gambling trusts must return to the community from class 4 gaming machines, he was also looking to a wider review of the sector. Mr Dunne said the government is concerned at the decline in gross proceeds from gaming machines over the past 10 years.

“Gambling proceeds provide a significant amount to community causes annually - $620 million in 2013/14, with 40 per cent or $250 million from pokies and 37 per cent from lotteries.

Some of the decline is an inevitable consequence of the significant reduction in gaming machine numbers in the last ten years, but it is not the whole picture.”

The Minister has asked Internal Affairs to report on the reasons for the decline and future forecasts and impacts on community funding. Once this has been received, the Government will decide early next year what further steps are required.

Mr Dunne also announced that the Department will conduct a six-week public consultation on the amount that trusts must distribute to authorised charitable purposes. The current minimum return to the community is 40 per cent of gross gaming machine proceeds, due to increase to 42 per cent by September 2018. 

He released a discussion document, Proposed changes to the minimum rate of return to authorised purposes, for public consultation.  The consultation paper can be seen here:

“These proposals recognise the pressures the class 4 sector is under to maintain community funding, while enabling the Department to recover its costs and fulfil its statutory obligations. Further relief is contained in the Gambling Amendment Bill

(No 3) currently awaiting its third reading which includes measures to simplify compliance and reduce costs for societies and venue owners in some areas,” Mr Dunne said.

The Government is carrying an annual gambling operating deficit of $3.8 million as well as an accumulated deficit of nearly $13 million. This would continue to grow without any fees increase. Fees have been unchanged since 2008 but, to help address the gap between costs and revenue, some fees will increase from December this year, while others will remain the same or drop.

Examples of fee changes include: new class 4 operator licences (non-club societies) $3,616 to $15,795; annual compliance fee (small club societies) $378 to $295.50; daily monitoring fee per gaming machine $1.20 to $1.90; new venue licence (non-club societies) $904 to $2,567.

Overall annual revenue from casino licence fees will remain the same but Auckland and Queenstown SkyCity casinos will pay more and Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin casinos will pay less.

Mr Dunne’s speech to the Hospitality Association of New Zealand can be seen here: