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New Zealand – New Zealand government outlines harm minimisation move in pubs, clubs and TAB NZ venues

By - 5 June 2023

The New Zealand Government has announced new regulations the Gambling Harm Prevention and Minimisation Amendment Regulations 2023 to strengthen gambling harm minimisation in class 4 venues.

These new regulations are designed to ensure venues and gambling societies meet their responsibilities to prevent problem gambling. They include changes to advertising and branding regulations, establishing clearer procedures to enable the identification of problem gamblers through strengthening monitoring practices. They also establish a number of infringement offences for breaches of these requirements.

“Pokies are one of the most harmful forms of gambling. They can have a detrimental impact on individuals, their friends, whānau and communities,” Internal Affairs Minister Barbara Edmonds said.

“After first announcing changes in November 2022, we are now progressing this work by confirming requirements and a clear timeline on when these will occur.

“Changes which apply to pubs, clubs and TAB NZ venues, will be staggered over the next six months, giving the sector enough time to provide training to staff and implement necessary layout requirements.”

The new regulations are made up of three parts. The changes will be phased over six months to provide time for the sector to implement the changes.

Part 1 comes into effect on 15 June 2023 and includes changes to responsibility for complying with the existing restrictions on jackpot advertising and jackpot branding at class 4 venues.

Prior to this amendment, the obligation to comply with these requirements rested with three parties – the venue manager, the holder of the class 4 licence and the venue operator. The changes remove the responsibility from the venue manager for these two requirements, so responsibility now rests with the holder of the class 4 licence or Venue operator.

Breaches of these requirements will become an infringement offence from 15 June 2023, with an infringement fee of $1,000.

Part 2 on 1 September 2023 includes new requirements about what problem gambling awareness training must cover including mandatory practical and interactive sessions on how to interact with gamblers, identify signs of harm and provide gamblers with information on how they can seek help.

Part 3 on 1 December 2023 will see all changes will be in force, including all venue staff who supervise gamblers must be trained, replacing the previous rule where a minimum of one harm minimisation trained person was required at the venue if gambling was available.Venue staff who are supervising gamblers must be trained in the new requirements, and this training must occur at least once per year.

Clearer requirements around identifying harm – – staff will have to conduct at least three physical observations (sweeps) of the gaming area per hour, these must be at least 10 minutes apart and they must be recorded. Venue managers are required to review these records weekly.

Venue staff must have conversations with gamblers if they have been identified as showing certain signs of harm. The conversation is to assist with identifying whether the player is a problem gambler, and a record must be kept of these conversations.

New venue layout requirements to ensure easier monitoring of ATMs by staff from the main bar or service area, and to ensure that gaming machines generally are not visible from outside of the venues

“Each year, pokies are the biggest driver of people seeking gambling related help in Aotearoa. It is clear that these changes need to be made to help venues better identify and minimise harm to players,” Barbara Edmonds said.

“By making requirements on pokie venues clearer and more enforceable, staff will have the tools and knowledge to identify and act on harmful gambling more often and more consistently.

“I would like to thank everyone who provided feedback, including the gambling harm treatment sector and the class 4 gambling sector. Their input into the development process was invaluable to improving changes,” Barbara Edmonds said.

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