|There’s a rush on video poker machines in New Zealand as casino operators rush to beat tough new laws by installing the machines before the law comes into effect, the Coalition for Gambling Reform said Sunday. |
Chairman Dave Macpherson said 3000 poker machines were licensed in the year ending September 30, the largest yearly licensing total yet.
Macpherson blames the increase on gaming machine operators wanting to beat the Responsible Gambling Bill passage, which is scheduled for its second reading in Parliament. 'Bar owners and pokie trusts have seen that there are going to be some restrictions in the future and have been fearful of them,' says Macpherson. 'They rushed to get in new machines. That the Government has allowed that to happen has sort of subverted half the purpose of the new legislation.' The new bill will restrict high-risk gambling by limiting gaming machines on new sites, give communities the power to veto new sites, ban new casinos and collect a levy to fund the treatment of problem gambling. The gaming industry vowed to fight the legislation when it was introduced.
Gambling Machine Association chairman Garry Ward said people who put in gaming machines, knowing new legislation was likely, would be caught out.
'If those machines should not be in place they will have their licences revoked and that's as it should be.'