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THERE might be less poker machines in New Zealand but the revenue generated is not decreasing, a new report reveals.
According to the figures from the Department of Internal Affairs, gaming machine profits rose by 3.4 per cent to $235 million for the period between June and September, compared to the previous year.
The reduction in the number of pokies in New Zealand is not corresponding with revenue generated from the machines as expected.
The irony of the increment in profit is that the number of machines has dropped by 2.4 per cent with the number of venues decreasing by 2.8 per cent.
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Currently, New Zealand has 1130 venues operating 15,342 gaming machines.
Chief executive of Problem Gambling Foundation Paula Snowden revealed that some of the poorest parts of the country house almost half of the machines.
“Incomes are not rising in those areas, and we need the machines out of these areas,” she said.
Snowden said this means families are losing money and this is having a serious impact on households in New Zealand, including neglecting bills and mortgages.
“So all of the funding that goes into community groups is coming from the people who need the funding,” she said.
Ms Snowden said there is also a growing concern those of Māori and Pasifika heritage make up far too great a percentage of problem gamblers.
She said pokies need to be removed from poorer communities, not through relocation, but through serious decreases in numbers of terminals.
“That doesn’t mean go and put them in middle-class communities to put the problem there, it means to just take them out,” she said.