It’s fair to say that the people of New Zealand, and West Auckland in particular have a love of pokies. And, why wouldn’t you? The excitement that each spin generates ensures they are one of the best casino games around, whether you’re experiencing the thrill from your mobile device with Lucky Nugget Casino or in the local casino.

Statistics recently released showed that throughout the 2015-16 financial year that West Aucklanders spent over $100,000 a day on the pokies.

Player spending increases on pokies

Perhaps what makes this more surprising is that for some areas in the region, the number of machines available for players was reduced.

The biggest increase in pokie expenditure came in the Waitakere Ranges area, which had risen by 30 percent. All in all, the locals spent $20,484 a day. Although no machines were removed from the area in this period, it still boasts much fewer venues and over 100 fewer machines than some of the surrounding areas. However, that spending was dwarfed by the figures in Henderson-Massey where around $60,000 a day was spent by players.

Figures were also released for the whole country, and the information provided showed that a staggering $843 million was sunk into pokie machines by New Zealanders in the same time frame.

Yet, despite the significant increase in spending in those areas and the country as a whole, the Whau region saw a decrease of 8.3 percent in money gambled in their venues. One of the chief reasons for this was the removal of 18 of the 163 machines that they contained.


Calls to reduce the number of machines

This has prompted calls from the Problem Gambling Foundation (PGF) to remove machines from venues across the country. Bonnie Lovich-Hewit, a councillor at PGF said; “less machines will help, this research tells us there is a clear correlation between accessibility and harm”.

She also added that “less availability means less harmful gambling”, using the statistics as proof that something needed to be done when talking to the Henderson-Massey local board. However, her calls were not met with much approval, with the board believing that removing pokies would only see players turn to online platforms to gamble.

Plus, board member Warren Flaunty recognised the importance of the money that pokies generate, adding; “In New Zealand, gaming returns about 40 per cent of profits back into the community through various trusts. Money that forms the backbone of a number of organisations”.

Whether further machines will be removed remains to be seen, but what we do know is that New Zealanders have a love of the pokies!

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