Proposed Gambling Venues Policy 2018

Under Government legislation, we are required to have a policy that specifies where Class 4 gambling venues or stand-alone TAB venues can be established in our district.

Class 4 is gambling that involves a gaming machine (aka ‘pokies’). Pokies are run by societies or clubs. A proportion of the net proceeds collected from these machines are distributed back into communities or to a club’s approved purpose/s.

As gambling is a legal activity in New Zealand it cannot be banned. The Gambling Venues Policy is intended to minimise potential harm caused by this type of gambling. It does this by regulating if and where class 4 venues can be established.

Council’s role is to:

  • decide if new venues may be established
  • where they may be located (and if they are appropriate to the characteristics of the community)
  • if existing venues may be merged or relocated
  • how many machines a venue may have.

At the moment there are:

  • 19 Class 4 venues operating in our district
  • 243 Class 4 machines (at those 19 venues)
  • No standalone TABs (although the policy does allow for their establishment)

Waikato District Council is required to review the Gambling Venues Policy every 3 years.

What we propose:

In line with many other councils in New Zealand, we support the gradual reduction of Class 4 gambling venues in our district, over time (commonly referred to as a ‘sinking lid’).

Council believes this ‘sinking lid’ mandate provides an appropriate balance between permitting responsible gambling and minimising potential harm in our communities, as the result of gambling.


To reflect this, Council wants to make changes to the current policy, including:

  • Introducing new criteria around merging venues

    • The number of machines being permitted after merger being 5/6th of the sum specified in all of the merged club class 4 venue licenses at the time of application (to a maximum of 18).
  • Introducing criteria around relocation
    • Relocation of a Class 4 venue would not be allowed unless the current venue was physically incapable of being used, for example through fire, and in these circumstances there will be a range of criteria that they will have to meet in order to relocate. For example, they would not be allowed within 100m of another Class 4 venue or kindergartens, early childhood centres, schools, places of worship or community facilities.

Download the Statement of Proposal below to see all the proposed changes.

Consultation on this closed at 5pm on 13 August 2018.

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