Waipa Votes Against Sinking Lid Pokies Policy

Elouise Spencer - 20 August 2019

New Zealand’s Waipa District Council has been toying with whether or not to impose a sinking lid policy on pokies in the region. Many suspected that this would in fact be the inevitable outcome but it now seems that the majority of the members of council hold the view that the end justifies the means, so to speak, because of the major financial benefits enjoyed by mostly charitable gambling tax recipients.

A sinking lid policy is a restriction the actual movement of pokies. It also places a moratorium on the issuing of future licenses to operate pokies. In other words, if the owner of a pub or entertainment venue were to decide to no longer do business, the electronic gaming machines are not permitted to be moved to a new venue. Absolutely no changing of hands or ownership is allowed once a sinking lid policy is in force.

The Key Is A Healthy Balance

A sinking lid policy is without a doubt the most effective manner in which to reduce the overall number of electronic gaming machines in circulation, and an approach that has become a firm favourite among New Zealand’s communities in an effort to reduce the harm caused by those overspending on pokies. It is common knowledge that more often that not, its not so much the player who suffers the most, but he family of the player and in some cases even the minor dependents of the player.

Pokies are good fun but when not managed and regulated properly, can cause a lot of harm to vulnerable players and their families. The key is and has always been to keep a good and healthy balance.

Two Sides To The Story

Committee member Poto Davies is one of council’s avid supporters of the sinking lid policy. Davies did try and lobby in favour of the implementation thereof and explains that her feelings on the matter are based on the fact that even though the money spent on pokies is eventually funnelled towards many a charitable and worthy cause, one cannot simply ignore the harm caused by irresponsible wagering on the way there.

Another voice in support of the policy was that belonging to Vern Wilson. Wilson said that the actual problem was that those benefiting from the funds generated by pokie machines would not necessarily submit to the system in its entirety if all the facts were to be laid out on the table.

The remainder of the committee’s members however voted that the current status quo should remain as is. Poker machines have brought many a good thing to the local community in terms of economic empowerment. The problem, at the end of the day, is lack of self-control, and not the actual gaming machines.

About 43% of the money being fed into pokies ultimately end up back in the hands of the community and can then be put to really good and positive use.