The New Zealand government has been making some major changes to their Gambling Act. It was originally implemented in 2003 and many have been saying that the Act no longer works in the age of online gaming and the massive changes that have happened in the industry in the last 20 years.
These new regulations are called the Gambling Harm Prevention and Minimization Amendment Regulations 2023. The aim is to be more supportive of those who are at risk of gambling harm and to put the responsibility of monitoring for signs of harm onto the venue.
What are the New Regulations?
These new regulations place a lot more onus on the venues that have gambling machines, or pokies as they’re called in New Zealand, for the public. This, of course, includes land-based casinos. It also includes bars and other establishments that are licensed to house slots and machines for public use.
So, what does this all mean for these establishments?
Training for Staff
The staff working at the establishment must all have training so that they know how to deal with people who may have a problem with gambling. They need to be able to spot the signs and know how to deal with the person in a tactful and safe manner.
It will be the responsibility of the establishment to ensure the staff are doing regular sweeps of the venue, looking out for harmful gambling practices. There also needs to be a clear chain of communication to record and highlight concerns.
Signage and Warnings
The venue itself needs to have proper signs up that warn about the potential dangers of gambling. These can also include helpful tips for gambling safely, as well as contact information for support groups and other help that individuals can get if they have a problem.
Positioning of Machines
The layout of the machines within the venue is also part of the new regulations. All gaming machines must be positioned in a way that is less visible. The ATMs in these establishments must also be set into more prominent positions that are easier to monitor by the staff.
The new regulations come with new infringement offences that can result in fines and penalties for the establishments. It’s now far easier for the government to enforce regulations under the Gambling Act, and hand out penalties when infractions are spotted.
The Future of Gambling in New Zealand
New regulations such as these are not something that casino owners should be worried about. They’re designed to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable experience when gambling, and those who are at risk can easily get the assistance they need.
However, it’s important to note that more regulation amendments could be in the works as officials look to bring the Gambling Act more in line with the technology and methods of gambling happening in 2023. Online gambling could be next in line for an overhaul of regulations.