Truly, the gambling environment is a very sensitive one. With one wrong move, you can squander all you have won as a bettor and as a regulator, just one wrong regulation can lead to a rift that may rock the sector very hard.

The latter is exactly the case in New Zealand. The New Zealand gambling world is presently faced with two of the most contentious reforms developed to increase the earnings that go into the coffers of the horse and dog racing industry. Simply put, these reforms include:

  • The removal of limitations affecting the way TAB functions as regards pokie machines
  • Bringing virtual horse racing back into the scene to cushion the adverse impacts the sector is experiencing presently.

The reactions that welcomed these reforms were not the desired ones at all, even right from the first time these reforms were included as part of the changes of the first phase of the Racing Reform Act. The reactions left the department with no other option than to withdraw the reforms from this initial phase of the sweeping reforms galvanized by Winston Peters, the Minister For Racing.

The fear was that the complicatedness of the reforms might hinder a timely revenue increase for the racing industry. All of these were revealed by documents published by the Department of Internal Affairs.

According to the briefing from the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to Peters, it was noted that all but five of the 1187 public suggestions on a sub recommendation in the report from Messara concerning the situation in the racing industry were against the removal of these restrictions on the TAB’s procedure for running pokie machines, which fall under Class 4 of the gaming act.

The popular issue raised by these public suggestions against enabling TAB to run extra gaming machines was that rather than the situation then when profits made from pokie machines with $2 or even lower deposits at CasinoDeps.co.nz were spent on projects in the community, what will be the case now will be the siphoning of these profits by stakeholders in the racing industry.

Follow through as we explain the present conflicting situation in New Zealand and all you need to know concerning the issue rocking the country’s gambling industry, all thanks to the disparities existing between pokies operation and the horse racing industry

Removing TAB’s Restrictions

It all began with the plan to get rid of every form of restriction that has been placed on the TAB’s operating pokies machines in different parts of the country. This is the reality, the removal of restrictions on the TAB running slot machines will, in turn, lead to the coming-in of more virtual horse racing games.

What that means is that there will be a dreaded reduction in the amount of money made from pokie machines. This reduction will further bring about a corresponding decrease in the amount of funding that goes into the grants provided by these pokies operators to needy community organizations and the funding of certain charitable societal projects.

On the flip side, more money will be generated by the horse racing industry which clearly is not what the Kiwis are delighted about. Their displeasure has been shown clearly in the number of submissions the DIA received from the public, kicking against permitting the TAB to run additional slot gaming machines.

What some of the emissions indicated is that gambling being an activity that can be detrimental to the well-being of individuals in the local society as well as the society at large, can prove to be a worthy course, then to the donations received to finance community projects from the income made from pokie machines. What then will be the case when the donations are not coming in anymore?

Virtual Horse Racing And More Pokies

Despite this overwhelming opposition, the reform change that will enable the Racing Board to obtain more pokie machines received strong backing from the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) assigned with the role of examining suggestions from the Messara Report.

The five-member MAC seems to have upheld an assertion in a submission by the Racing Board that the TAB’s running of pokie machines would only result in a reduced rate of gambling risks owing to components like their more proficient staff and the fact that there will be no alcohol sales on TAB venues.

This assertion was however categorically dismissed by the Problem Gambling Foundation.

Who Will Receive Revenue? (TAB or Community)

This is the main discord that has welcomed this proposed policy and regulations change by the DIA. The major bone of contention is the fact that the money made from pokie machines that used to go into the community as grants will no longer be used to that effect. Instead, these proceeds will be diverted into the coffers of the TAB and racing operators, leading to the fear that this money will only be siphoned and nothing will come to the community.

If this truly is the case, then we posit that a lot is yet to be done by the Department of Internal Affairs as these reforms will only breed dissatisfaction and complications. These complications will in turn affect the participation of Kiwis in gambling activities like the pokies as they now know that the proceeds will not be utilized for a good course anymore.

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