In New Zealand, the newly proposed Harm Reduction Bill aims to reduce the number of poker machines on a national level. In Auckland, a similar proposal has been presented, potentially imposing a sinking lid policy on a local level. The proposal has received a great deal of support in a very short amount of time, obtaining thousands of submissions from local citizens.

On February 28th, community group ‘No More Pokies’ delivered over 9000 submissions to the Auckland Council. The deadline for submissions was the end of the day, and the group ensured that the delivery would make a significant statement by just barely making the cut off. No More Pokies launched its campaign in January 2013.

The group encouraged all Auckland citizens to take a stand if they supported the sinking lid policy. In just under two months, No More Pokies gathered 9061 submissions from dedicated residents in the capital. “This is the largest number of submissions ever submitted in favour of a ‘sinking lid’ on pokies,” says Tony Milne, National Manager of the Problem Gambling Foundation.

“The thousands of submissions send a powerful message to the Auckland Council”. The sinking lid policy would ensure that no new poker machines would be introduced into the community. Currently, pubs and clubs across Auckland host more than 4,059 pokies.

The local SkyCity casino hosts more than 1600. With SkyCity about to introduce 500 new poker machines (as per its agreement with Prime Minister John Key), residents want to ensure that no new pokies make their way into the community. In addition to limiting the number of poker machines in the city, a sinking lid policy would also reduce the number of pokies in the city.

Over time, the policy would ensure there are fewer pokies in Auckland, helping to reduce problem gambling rates and encouraging responsible gambling behaviour among residents.