The Waipā District Council is not convinced that the sinking lid rule should be added to the gambling policy in their municipality. This decision was taken after a committee meeting was held to determine any amendments were required to the current gambling policy.
The sinking lid policy presents the case of the poker machines generating more negative than positive externalities to the community. However only two members of the community shared this opinion while the rest voted against it. The two members presented the case that the tax generated by poker machines benefits only certain groups within the community. While some are profiting from the current placement of the poker machines other groups such as vulnerable gamblers, children are at the risk of being negatively impacted by their presence.
How Does the Sinking Lid Policy Work?
The policy controls the affects of gambling by limiting the number of poker machines that can be operated within an area. It states that if a gambling establishment shuts down then another venue should not be given the green light to open in its place and begin trading. This holds true even if there is a deficit in the number of establishments operating the poker machines in a particular area.
At present, the Waipā district allows 15 gambling venues to operate in the area. The total number of pokies machines that can operate is capped at 232 and at present there are 228 in operation. This means that without the implementation of the sinking lid policy, the municipality can give another venue the license to operate a further four pokies machines.
Suffice to say that pokies machines have been creating controversy in New Zealand for quite some time now. More and more anti-gambling groups are coming forth and are voicing their concerns regarding
Last year saw Kiwis spend an astronomical NZ $1 billion on pokies machines whereby 43% of that made it back into the community in one shape or form.
Similar stories were found across offshore online casinos where Kiwis spent nearly NZ $381 million in the last 18 months. SkyCityGroup, the biggest gambling group in New Zealand have even gone as far as to partner with GiG to offer their own real money casino operated from Malta.
It will be interesting to see whether the Waipā District Council and other councils change their stance on gambling doing more good than harm and start adopting policies such as the sinking lid in the near future.