Press Release – Problem Gambling Foundation
No more pokies Auckland. Choose a healthier future for our children – That is the theme for a campaign, endorsed by more than 20 organisations, which is being launched with a video of children sharing their hopes and dreams for the future.
The ‘no more pokies Auckland campaign’ aims to encourage people to ‘say no to more pokies’ and ‘choose a sinking lid’ when the Auckland Council begins consultation on its gambling policy from 18 January.
Tony Milne, National Manager of Public Health at the Problem Gambling Foundation, says a sinking lid is the best option the Council has under current legislation to keep the number of pokie machines down in Auckland.
“A sinking lid means no new licenses can be granted for pokie venues and machines can’t be transferred if a venue closes,” he says.
“That means that over time, the number of venues and pokie machines will reduce.”
The Class 4 Gambling (Pokie) Venue Policy is being developed for Auckland Council to replace the policies of the seven legacy Territorial Local Authorities.
Auckland ‘Supercity’ currently has 297 venues and 4,059 pokie machines excluding the 1,647 pokie machines at SkyCity Casino that will not be covered by Auckland Council’s policy.
Tony Milne says both Manukau and Waitakere Councils had adopted sinking lid policies and it would be great to see Auckland Council follow their lead.
“We don’t want any more pokie machines in Auckland,” he says.
“They aren’t just a ‘harmless flutter’. Pokies are dangerous and addictive machines often described as the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’.
“Most adults (84%) never use pokies and approximately six percent use them monthly or more. Four in ten regular users will have a gambling problem or are at risk of developing one.”
“Of the people who seek help for a gambling problem, over 70 percent of them say that pokies are their main form of gambling and 80% of those who seek help have suicidal thoughts.”
“We know the harm that pokies can cause and don’t want them to be part of the future for our children,” Tony Milne says.