Why so many pokies?

Watchdog group says ‘sinking lid’ not sinking

Watchdog group says ‘sinking lid’ not sinking

File picture

Gisborne District Council’s sinking lid policy on gambling machines continues to bubble.

Ten years ago, in June 2008, there were 15 venues and 214 machines here.

In June this year there were 13 venues and 195 machines — a reduction of just 19.

Although there has been this slight reduction over the past 10 years, the amount spent this year is $5000 more than 10 years ago.

Communities Against Alcohol Harm spokeswoman Ms Lizz Crawford said the policy was up for consideration by the council in November and needed to be strengthened.

“A sinking lid policy is meant to sink.We ask, why is this lid still bubbling?”

The owners of the Kaiti Sports Bar had not applied to move their gambling machines to town — the New Zealand Community Trust had made the applicaton, she said.

The council’s Gambling Venue Policy 2015 clearly stated that the class 4 venue could make the request.

Kaiti Club Hotel had also applied for a liquor licence.

Ms Crawford said there were some basic points to raise around the relocation of pokies.

“Is there a right for the New Zealand Communities Trust to relocate those machines? They may give reasons such as beyond the control of the owner. But was it beyond the control of the owners? They did not get their liquor licence and it expires this month but they appear to have closed their doors more frequently in the mall.”

Ms Crawford said the reasons given for the liquor licence decision were issues with food and training — both things would be in control of the venue owner.

A good way to strengthen the council sinking lid policy would be to exclude a relocation clause, now that Kaiti Sports Bar was closing.

The owners of Kaiti Club Hotel were the owners of Pizza G at 35 Gladstone Road. Mrs Crawford said the pokie application was for 33 Gladstone Road, so it looked like they were looking to put the pokies and bar next door.

“Like a wraparound Pizza G, this tells me — ‘hey guys this is Kaiti Sports Bar with pizza’.”

“Of the approximately 180 machines here, about 114 are owned by NZCT.

“They take about $5.5m a year and the proceeds returned to the community through funding are about $1m, or 20 percent,” she said.

The other pokie operators here are Lion Foundation and Pub Charity, and there are three club venues that own their own pokies.

Another concern for Communities Against Alcohol Harm is that the owners are absent and are directors the company trading as Kaiti Sports Bar. They also have other class 4 venues here and a contractual relationship with NZCT.

Ms Crawford said that meant there might not be established staff training relating to the food and water issues, which caused concern in the Kaiti Sports Bar case and formed part of the decision to refuse renewal of its on-licence.

It appeared that the pokies were the main source of income — this was another red flag.

Aside from objecting to Pizza G’s application, Ms Crawford said there were three other applications for either liquor licence renewal or new on-licences in the very near future.

Gisborne District Council’s sinking lid policy on gambling machines continues to bubble.

Ten years ago, in June 2008, there were 15 venues and 214 machines here.

In June this year there were 13 venues and 195 machines — a reduction of just 19.

Although there has been this slight reduction over the past 10 years, the amount spent this year is $5000 more than 10 years ago.

Communities Against Alcohol Harm spokeswoman Ms Lizz Crawford said the policy was up for consideration by the council in November and needed to be strengthened.

“A sinking lid policy is meant to sink.We ask, why is this lid still bubbling?”

The owners of the Kaiti Sports Bar had not applied to move their gambling machines to town — the New Zealand Community Trust had made the applicaton, she said.

The council’s Gambling Venue Policy 2015 clearly stated that the class 4 venue could make the request.

Kaiti Club Hotel had also applied for a liquor licence.

Ms Crawford said there were some basic points to raise around the relocation of pokies.

“Is there a right for the New Zealand Communities Trust to relocate those machines? They may give reasons such as beyond the control of the owner. But was it beyond the control of the owners? They did not get their liquor licence and it expires this month but they appear to have closed their doors more frequently in the mall.”

Ms Crawford said the reasons given for the liquor licence decision were issues with food and training — both things would be in control of the venue owner.

A good way to strengthen the council sinking lid policy would be to exclude a relocation clause, now that Kaiti Sports Bar was closing.

The owners of Kaiti Club Hotel were the owners of Pizza G at 35 Gladstone Road. Mrs Crawford said the pokie application was for 33 Gladstone Road, so it looked like they were looking to put the pokies and bar next door.

“Like a wraparound Pizza G, this tells me — ‘hey guys this is Kaiti Sports Bar with pizza’.”

“Of the approximately 180 machines here, about 114 are owned by NZCT.

“They take about $5.5m a year and the proceeds returned to the community through funding are about $1m, or 20 percent,” she said.

The other pokie operators here are Lion Foundation and Pub Charity, and there are three club venues that own their own pokies.

Another concern for Communities Against Alcohol Harm is that the owners are absent and are directors the company trading as Kaiti Sports Bar. They also have other class 4 venues here and a contractual relationship with NZCT.

Ms Crawford said that meant there might not be established staff training relating to the food and water issues, which caused concern in the Kaiti Sports Bar case and formed part of the decision to refuse renewal of its on-licence.

It appeared that the pokies were the main source of income — this was another red flag.

Aside from objecting to Pizza G’s application, Ms Crawford said there were three other applications for either liquor licence renewal or new on-licences in the very near future.

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