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3 July 2015

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Changes to licensing forms: helping ensure access to gambling areas is controlled

Having well-controlled access to gambling areas is an important tool in minimising gambling harm. The Department is making changes to ensure it’s easier, from the outset, for societies and venues to get access right. We want the processing of your application to be as smooth as possible so have clarified our requirements about the detail we need.

What changes are taking place?

The Department is updating the following licensing forms (“the forms”):

The changes help clarify access requirements to gambling areas under s67 of the Gambling Act 2003. The forms have also been updated to outline the Department’s expectations about information that societies and venues need to provide in support of the application. A key document that needs to be provided by societies and venues with the application is the A4 floor plan of the gambling area. See a sample floor plan on our website.

Why have these changes been made?

The Department regularly receives applications that do not have sufficient information to allow us to determine whether access is sufficient to satisfy legal requirements. This results in unnecessary delays in the processing of applications until the necessary information is received or venues are inspected.

What are the changes aiming to achieve?

These delays can be frustrating for the Department, the society, and the venue operator that has had their application placed on hold. While the changes will require more clarity and more information to be supplied initially, it is hoped this will result in fewer delays and greater efficiency in the processing of applications.

When will the changes take effect?

The updated forms will be available on the Department’s website from 3 July 2015. 

Extra information and guidance around venue access and floor plans (when completing GC3, GC4 and GC4A)

General reminders about access issues and moving machines within a venue. See a sample floor plan on our website.

Why is controlling access to gambling areas important?

It is recognised that gambling can be a form of entertainment that is used safely by adult New Zealanders. The Gambling Act 2003 makes the distinction that people under the age of 18 (“minors”) and individuals with problem gambling behaviour/excluded gamblers, must be restricted from accessing the gambling area as it is considered that they cannot safely use gaming machines.

Who is responsible for access issues?

The responsibility for preventing and minimising harm in a class 4 gambling venue is shared between the corporate society that holds the venue licence, the venue operator, the venue manager and any person acting on behalf of the venue manager. Having well-controlled access to prevent minors and problem gamblers/excluded gamblers from the gambling area, is crucial to minimising gambling harm. The Department will work with societies and venues to ensure that access to gambling areas is compliant with the law.

Can venues without defined gambling areas move gaming machines?

There is no requirement for a class 4 venue without a currently defined gambling area to notify the Department if it intends to move gaming machines within the venue. However, the Department would like to remind the sector that gaming machines cannot be moved around within a venue if doing so means access requirements won’t be met.

Concerns or questions? Get in touch!

Please contact your society liaison if there are concerns about whether a class 4 venue meets the requirements around access to gambling areas, or if the relocation of gaming machines is under consideration in a class 4 venue without a currently defined gambling area. The Department is willing to work with you to ensure that the obligations to control access to gambling areas and minimise the risk of gambling harm are met.