Profits from pokie machines are increasing despite a drop in the number of machines and venues.
Figures from the Department of Internal Affairs show that between June and September last year, gaming machine profits totalled $235million – a 3.4 percent increase on the same period the previous year.
Despite profits rising, there are 2.4 percent fewer machines and a 2.8 percent drop in venues.
There are 1130 venues and 15,342 gaming machines operating in New Zealand.
Problem Gambling Foundation chief executive Paula Snowden said about half of the machines are in some of the poorest parts of the country.
“Incomes are not rising in those areas, and we need the machines out of these areas,” she said.
Ms Snowden said this means more money is being taken away from families and household bills.
“So all of the funding that goes into community groups, is coming from the people who need the funding,” she said.
In addition, she said Māori and Pasifika are over represented in problem gambling using pokie machines.
She said this is why, with spending once again on the rise, pokies need to be removed from poorer communities.
“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.
To get help:
Freephone: 0800 6642 62
Counselling is free of charge to the gambler, their family and others
affected by harmful gambling.
rnz.co.nz – Charlie Dreaver