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Punters spending up across the ditch in New Zealand

Thu, Mar 14, 10:10am by Staff Writer

New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs has released its quarterly statistics that reveal that Gaming Machine Proceeds (GMP) have increased.

The department released the statistics on March 1, stating that proceeds increased by $7.9 million for the quarter between September and December 2018.

This is a 3.5 per cent increase compared with the same quarter a year ago, according to Know Casino.

The final quarter statistics also suggest that the recent trends are continuing from the past months.

There are now a fewer number of gaming machines and venues, marking a 2.4 per cent decrease year on year.

The expenditure on pokies in New Zealand also declined from an average of $242 per head in 2016/17 to $238 per head in 2017/18, upon adjusting for inflation and demographic changes.

The funds available to the community are also declining, with revenue reducing from $1,027 million to $870 million, marking a 15 per cent decrease between 2004 and 2017.

Community groups across New Zealand depend on grants from Gaming Machine Trusts and Societies, with such funds providing $300 million across the nation.

The good news is that pokies are continuing to bring their share of return to the community.

Pokies in pubs return 44.6 per cent to the community and clubs return 39 per cent.

When taxes are added to those figures, the total community dividend for pokies in pubs is 67.6 per cent and for those in clubs is 60 per cent.

A spokesman of the Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand Bruce Robertson said that generating more funds for the community organisations is a positive thing. 

He also said that the average amount spent by a New Zealander on pokies has decreased in real terms. 

Sports betting and pokies a main driver

These quarterly figures come after news earlier this month that Kiwis spent NZ$2.38 billion on sports betting, poker machines and other forms of gambling in 2018.

Players’ spend on sports betting increased by 3.6 per cent, while spending on poker machines grew by 2.9 per cent.

The other two main gambling areas – casinos and lotteries – both saw a spending increase of 1.1 per cent.

 In spite of the larger spending, the average amount paid to gambling operators per person fell $14 to $634 in the 2017/18 financial year.

According to the Department of Internal Affairs, increased spending on sports betting was partly due to targeted marketing campaigns undertaken by gambling operators.

A significant growth in digital channels via product and special enhancements, as well as a number of successful marketing campaigns such as the FIFA World Cup and Spring Racing Carnival were also pointed to as reasons for the increased spend.

Gambling spend on pokies in the 2017/18 financial year rose to NZ $895 million from NZ $870 million, while casino spending increased NZ$6 million to NZ$578 million. 

A Problem Gambling Foundation spokeswoman Andree Froude found the figures concerning, although not surprising.

Ms Froude explained that it was not accurate to look at the result on a per person basis, because not every adult in the nation gambles.

The large money flow is not generated by many people who spend a bit, but rather comes from a few people who spend a lot she said.

In the case of poker machines, 87 per cent of New Zealanders did not use them, Ms Froud said.

She also took issue with the increasing promotion of sports betting through the TAB, which had ‘normalised’ gambling and had the potential to attract a new demographic – young men – to the betting scene.

NZ$749 million or 31.4 per cent of proceeds from gambling went back to the community.

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