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Issue #59, December 2015

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A significant year for the Class 4 sector

Raj Krishnan, Director Gambling Compliance

As we come to the close of 2015, it is a great opportunity for me to take a moment to reflect on what has been a significant year for the Class 4 sector.

There is much to reflect on! This year we had the passing of the Gambling Amendment Bills (No2) and (No3). It’s great to have this legislation in place. We also welcomed the Milestone Foundation to the sector, the first new Class 4 society licensed since 2013. And of particular significance, in October Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne announced a number of decisions affecting the Class 4 sector; this included the Government’s decision on gambling fee changes, the recently completed consultation on the Minimum Rate of Return, and a review of the Class 4 sector.

At the Regional Sector Forums in November, I introduced the Regulator’s Vision and Objectives for the Class 4 sector. One of these objectives is to ‘foster collaboration and partnership with and across the gambling sector’ and, on looking back over the year, I feel this is an area where we can feel positive about the progress we have made.

At the forums we heard that many of you feel there has been a change in the way we work together. I heard, more than once, that this is a different relationship than 10, or even five, years ago. We all benefit from this. This year we have seen reduced litigation across the sector as we have worked together through issues. There have been great examples of collaboration in the sector this year; the working party has achieved some positive results through its work on the Class 4 game rules and the sector’s contribution to the venue payments work has been crucial.

The Health Promotion Agency’s Venues Initiative is a great example of how partnership and collaboration can work for the benefit of us all. This initiative aims to help venue staff more easily meet their gambling host responsibility requirements and phase one of this initiative, the Gamble Host packs, was rolled out at the November forums. We were delighted to work alongside the HPA on this initiative and I have been impressed with the collaborative approach HPA undertook in working with not only us and the Ministry of Health, but also venue staff and societies. I am confident these resources will help venue staff be more confident in knowing when and how to intervene with gamblers they are concerned about. I’m looking forward to seeing the new material in venues.

Minimising harm from gambling is an area where we need to be working together. I look forward to this continuing in phase two of the initiative in 2016.

At the sector forums I shared an important quote from Minister Dunne’s HANZ conference speech in October : “The challenge is to ensure that we have a trusted, sustainable, fit-for-purpose regulatory environment for gambling that is able to meet the challenges that lie ahead.” This is quite a challenge, and one that relies on us continuing this way of working.

It is important for us all to reflect on the benefits the Class 4 sector provides to New Zealand. Some examples of Class 4 non-club grants this year include community groups receiving grants for youth development which will provide increased opportunities for young New Zealanders; a conservation trust receiving $300,000 which will result in greater protection for native species; and a Coastal Walkway Environmental Trust receiving $951,876 for a coastal walkway that will be an asset for the community.

The grant distribution process is complex, and I recognise the hard work that goes into this. Looking ahead to 2016, this is an area where I think we can work together to look at how we maximise the benefits to communities. We can also look at how we can better tell the story about the impact these grants have on New Zealand communities. 

As I said, 2015 was a significant year for the Class 4 sector, and I thank you for your efforts. I look forward to continuing to work with you in 2016, a year which I am sure will be just as significant.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and a restful break.

Gambling Regional Sector Forums - Plenty of Food for Thought

Regional Sector Forums were held during November in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. More than 100 people from the sector attended these forums and some great discussions were generated. 

Raj Krishnan, Director Gambling Compliance, took this opportunity to introduce the Department’s Vision and Objectives for the Class 4 sector. As part of the session, Raj facilitated a discussion on partnership and asked attendees for their views on what a partnership between the regulator and the sector means. We heard that the sector is looking for clear and consistent communication, transparency and trust from the regulator and also a regulator that is open to input from the sector.

A great example of partnership between agencies, and with the sector, was in the development of the Health Promotion Agency’s Gamble Host packs, so it was fitting the forums were combined with the official roll-out of these resources. Your support and input was crucial in the development of the resources. It was exciting to hear your plans to distribute and support your venues to use them. You can read more about the Gamble Host Pack resources in this issue of Gambits or view the resources.

Those who have attended the last few forums may have noticed our desire for increased participation from the sector, and as such, we have included a new forum slot where we will invite someone from the sector to share their perspectives. Jarrod True, author of the NZ Gambling Law Guide and partner in the law firm Harkness Henry, kindly agreed to be first up.

Jarrod offered his insights on the regulator’s performance; what we’re doing well and areas for improvement. He also shared his views on the future of the sector and discussed what he thought were some future priority areas, including online-gaming, linked jackpots, increased prize limits and the ability to advertise. At each forum he asked attendees what area they would choose to focus on and interestingly the responses differed at each forum. See the presentations made at the forum.

Thank you to those who took the time to complete the forum feedback survey. To ensure forums are useful for you, we need to know what you want to hear about, and who you want to hear from. We have received some great suggestions for future presenters, including society CEOs, working party members and Internal Affairs gambling inspectors.  Please keep your feedback and suggestions coming by emailing us at sector.initiatives@dia.govt.nz.

We look forward to seeing you at our next Regional Sector Forums in May 2016. Look out for the invitations to these in February.

Gamble Host Packs

Gamble Host Pack resources including a two posters and one brochure

The Gamble Host initiative and packs were launched at the Regional Sector Forums last month and we’d like to take the opportunity again to thank all our partners for their support in the development and distribution of these packs to Class 4 venues.

By now all societies and unaffiliated clubs should have received one Gamble Host pack for each of their venues and be in the process of putting up the resources and introducing the various tools to staff. It is great to see these materials in a number of venues already. At the forums we heard a lot of enthusiasm for the consistent messaging these materials will provide across venues, so we look forward to seeing them in more venues in the coming months. 

If you are a society or unaffiliated club, please let us know urgently if you are yet to receive your packs. Clubs affiliated to Clubs New Zealand will receive their packs in January 2016.
A reminder that the pack contains the following resources that will help venues meet their regulatory obligations around harm minimisation information and signage under the Gambling Act:

1. Harm minimisation posters

These ask: “Are you spending more on the pokies than you wanted?” and “Will you feel sick to the pit of your stomach when you walk away?”

Putting up at least one of the harm minimisation posters in an area in the venue where it is clearly visible to all players will help you comply with regulation 11(b) of the Gambling (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Regulations 2004. The regulation concerns the requirement to provide information about problem gambling and 11b states that Class 4 venues must display signage that is clearly visible to all players that—

  • encourages players to gamble only at levels they can afford:
  • contains advice about how to seek assistance for problem gambling.

2. Legal sign and poster

These are to make gamblers aware of the law and that staff may approach them.

Putting up at least one of the legal signs in the gambling area will help you comply with section 308(3) of the Act which is about the requirement to develop policy for identifying problem gamblers.

Section 308 (3) states that the venue manager …must display a notice in the gambling area of the Class 4 venue advising customers—

  • that the venue has a policy for identifying problem gamblers; and
  • that a copy of the policy will be made available on request.

We recommend placing beside the bar the legal sign that staff are required by law to look out for signs of harmful gambling and, in the gaming area, the poster that staff may approach gamblers.

3. Wallet sized leaflets

These discreet wallet-size leaflets are designed for gamblers that might be experiencing harm. Having a supply in the venue and making them available for gamblers will help you comply with regulation 11(a), which states that Class 4 venues make available to players—

  • pamphlets providing information about the odds of winning on gaming machines:
  • information about the characteristics of problem gambling (including the recognised signs of problem gambling) and how to seek advice for problem gambling.

Give the leaflets to gamblers you are concerned about to help you comply with section 309(1) of the Act. This section is about exclusion orders and states that the venue manager, or a person acting on behalf of that person, must, after identifying a person …who he, she, or it has reasonable grounds to believe is a problem gambler, approach the person and offer information or advice to the person about problem gambling.

All of the Gamble Host pack resources are available to be downloaded in a printable format. To download these resources or access the clinician/staff videos shown at the forum please visit the Gamble Host Pack website.

Please contact Hannah on h.booth@hpa.org.nz if you require digital versions of the posters for use with digital display screens.

Finally, we welcome your feedback on the Gamble Host pack. If you’d like to let us know your experience or have any questions please contact the Gamble Host team at info@choicenotchance.org.nz

Class 4 Consultation: Ticket-Out Payment System

Comments are being sought about proposed amendments to the Minimum Equipment Standards that would allow Cash-In-Ticket-Out (CITO) technology to be operated on Class 4 gaming machines.

The proposed system is ticket-out only - players would still be required to insert cash into the gaming machines in order to play. However, payments (i.e. cashing out credits or prizes) would be made via a ticket printed out at the machine. Players would then redeem their funds by presenting the tickets to the cashier.

More information is contained in the consultation document that can be found on the Internal Affairs’ gambling consultation page.

The consultation period closes on 15 February 2016.

Electronic grant application systems allowed

We have had an increasing number of queries from the sector on whether the requirements for grant record-keeping and signature verification are able to be met using electronic grant application systems.

Our view is that record-keeping requirements can be met using electronic systems. This includes the acceptance of digital signatures. If societies choose to use electronic grant application systems, they must continue to meet the requirements of the Gambling Act and Gambling (Class 4 Net Proceeds) Regulations, including the retention of the information for at least seven years. 

If you opt to meet these requirements electronically, the system you use will need to be robust enough to ensure the integrity of the information provided, in particular when verifying the identity of the applicant. You will also need to continue to provide the required documentation, either electronically or as hard copies.

If you have any queries, please contact your Department liaison or the Gambling Compliance Group on 0800 257 887 (New Zealand) or email us at gambling.compliance@dia.govt.nz.

Class 4 Game Rules update

The review of the Class 4 Game Rules is nearing completion. 

We anticipate receiving ministerial approval of the consultation process before the holiday break. 

Barring any unforeseen delays, the rules will be Gazetted at the earliest opportunity in 2016. 

We will let you know the exact date and relevant details via Gambits when they become known.

Great effort to remove non-downloadable jackpots

On 2 December 2015 all non-downloadable or “hand-pay” jackpots ceased to be approved gambling equipment in New Zealand.

We recognise the effort Class 4 Societies and Clubs made to ensure non-downloadable jackpots were replaced or decommissioned. In the six months leading up to the deadline, the number of licenced non-downloadable jackpots dropped from more than 100 to just nine. 

We would like to thank you for working with us to meet this requirement.

Happy holidays

Happy holidays - Kia pai te wa hararei - The Department of Internal Affairs wishes you a joyous festive season and a happy new year!

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