Gambling Policy

Council's Gambling Policy

Public consultation on our review of the Gambling Policy closed on 19 October 2020.

The Council last reviewed its Class 4 Gambling Venue Policy and Board Venue Policy ('The Gambling Policy') in 2017 and no changes were made to the policy adopted in August 2015.

The Council's Gambling Policy provides guidance for both class 4 gambling venues (venues that have pokie machines) and board venues (TABs) on the Council's approach to pokie machines and TABs in the district. You can view the new Gambling Policy here.

The Policy used findings from work which looked at the social impact of gambling in the district, and its findings were considered in the review. You can view the social impact assessment here.

Sinking lid

The 'sinking lid' approach is maintained in the reviewed policy. This means that no new consents for pokie machines (class 4 gambling machines) will be granted, and any venues with pokie machines (class 4 gambling venues) that cease to operate will result in a reduction of pokie machine numbers in the district.


A 'relocation provision' is now included in the reviewed policy. This means that venues with pokie machines may now apply to Council for a consent to relocate to a new location (under the old policy, the licence was tied to the existing location).  This enables venues with pokie machines to move to more appropriate locations in the district - away from early childhood centres/kindergartens, schools, kohanga reo, and playgrounds, and provides business owners with more flexibility in where they are able to operate.

The policy provides some guidance as to how a venue may apply for a relocation consent, and what type of information they will need to provide to council. If you have questions on how to apply for a relocation consent including how to apply for a consent, call Council on 07 868 0200.

Club mergers

The reviewed policy also now provides for clubs that currently have pokie machines to merge to become one club if they meet the conditions of the policy - previously not provided for in the old policy. These clubs can also apply for a consent to relocate to a new venue under the relocation policy. The policy does not affect the ability for clubs without pokie machines to merge.

Clubs that wish to merge under the reviewed policy can now apply to the Department of Internal Affairs using this process, or by contacting the Department on 0800 25 78 87. Clubs wishing to relocate as well as merge can contact the Council with questions on the relocation consent application process on 07 868 0200.

Gambling Act and Racing Act

Under the Gambling Act 2003 and the Racing Act 2003, Council must have both a Class 4 Gambling Venue Policy and a Board Venue Policy. These Acts set out factors that Council must take into consideration when developing the policies.

The purpose of the Gambling Act 2003 is to:

  • control the growth of gambling; and
  • prevent and minimise the harm caused by gambling, including problem gambling; and
  • authorise some gambling and prohibit the rest; and
  • facilitate responsible gambling; and
  • ensure the integrity and fairness of games; and
  • limit opportunities for crime or dishonesty associated with gambling; and
  • ensure that money from gambling benefits the community; and
  • facilitate community involvement in decisions about the provision of gambling.

The purpose of the Racing Act 2003 is:
a) to provide effective governance arrangements for the racing industry; and
b) to facilitate betting on galloping, harness, and greyhound races, and other sporting events; and
c) to promote the long-term viability of New Zealand racing.

The New Zealand Racing Board may establish board venues where the main business carried out is providing racing betting or sports betting services.