New Zealanders spent a record amount on pokies in the final quarter of the year in the country's pubs and clubs, showing significant pent up demand after the first-half closures and surprising government officials.
The amount of money spent on pokies in New Zealand hit a record $252 million in the three months to December, the highest since records began in 2007. The figures relate to spending outside of casinos.
New Zealand saw a surge in gambling expenditure after the lockdown, spending $252 million on non-casino pokie machines, the most since the Department of Internal Affairs began keeping records in 2007.
Problem gambling groups in New Zealand are opposing attempts by a local council to change its "sinking lid" policy on pokie clubs in order to be able to approve new venues on a case-by-case basis.
Millions of dollars in New Zealand pokie proceeds are sitting idle in the bank and not being distributed as community grants, due to legal changes pushed through in relation to the pandemic.
There has been no major change in those experiencing gambling problems since the Covid-19 pandemic, with a short-term improvement during the closures not persisting once venues reopened, according to a study by the University of Sydney.
Auckland Council has voted to keep its sinking lid policy for pokie machines in the region. Deputy Chair Josephine Bartley said it was the only option the council had to prevent new pokie machine venues from opening.
Victor Dominello, 53, is the New South Wales Minister for Customer Service. His portfolio includes oversight of gambling in the state, and he is shaking up the pokies industry with bold initiatives.
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