New Zealand Gambling Spending is Rising--Slots on Top of List

The gaming sector in New Zealand performed well in the most recent fiscal year. According to the country's Department of Internal Affairs, gambling spending increased by 17% year on year during the past year.

There are several reasons for New Zealand to be proud of its gaming business. According to the most recent data, Kiwi gambling expenditure is increasing, which means more money for the government and the economy. More and more people are also getting into online casinos in New Zealand, adding to the industry profit.

Much of it originates from slot machines not seen in local casinos. This category, which includes Class 4 operations in clubs and bars, increased by 23% to NZ$987 million (US$680.53 million). The TAB racing and sports betting market had the second-best growth. It collected NZ$385 million (US$265.45 million), below the slot category by barely 1%.

Casinos and lotto spending seeing uptrends

Lotto goods in New Zealand earned NZ$694 million (US$478.44 million), or 10% more than the previous year. Casinos also noticed a rise. The division recorded an 11 percent rise in total revenue of NZ$559 million (US$385.31 million). Even though New Zealand's casinos were still struggling with COVID-19 limits and incoming travel obstacles, the improvement was significant.

Some, such as Problem Gambling Foundation spokesperson Andree Froude, feel this suggests a national problem. If each adult is 18 years old or over gambled, the average breakdown of gaming expenditure for the year is NZ$662 (US$456.78). That is around the cost of a new cell phone and a Starbucks coffee.

On potential problem gambling

The DIA, as well as several legislators around the country, feel that the slot machine industry has to be revamped. There is a growing fear that their presence will endanger society. Even though research suggests that people who may fall into the "problem gambling" category account for barely 1% of the population.

Nonetheless, it is sufficient for the government to devote more time and resources to reviewing gambling machines. The DIA initiated an assessment of hazardous gambling, which might eventually result in a decline in the legal market. The government is also taking comments as part of its evaluation. It initiated a public consultation on slot machines, providing people the opportunity to provide feedback. The consultation period ran from March 17 to April 28.

The Problem Gambling Foundation's Andree Froude welcomed the inquiry but voiced alarm about the increase in gambling spending.

“It certainly shows that Kiwis returned to gambling after the lockdown restrictions ended, spending the equivalent of NZ$730 for every adult in the country,” Froude said. “Over 60 percent of pokies venues are situated in medium-high to very high deprivation areas so the money being lost is coming from people who can least afford to lose it.”

He claims that Class 4 pokies are the most dangerous kind of gaming, with over half of those seeking therapy for gambling identifying pokies in pubs, clubs, and TABs as their primary source of gambling.

The Gaming Machine Association's chief executive officer, Peter Dengate Thrush, said that Q4 profits will be wiped out due to a lack of tourists and the recent Auckland lockdown.

Thrush stated that the findings will resurrect the argument that the number of gaming machines should be reduced but underlined that reducing the number of machines had little effect on the number of problem gamblers.

He claims that due to the mandated 42 percent of pokies revenues that are returned to the government, these high profits would benefit New Zealand communities by increasing money for health, education, the environment, and sports across the country.

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