After initially consulting with only a few stakeholders about this application, the Gambling Commission subsequently opened submissions to the public after the considerable public interest became evident, particularly in the Hamilton and Waikato communities.
Written submissions closed on 17 May and many organisations and individuals have expressed their opinions, including social services, concerned community members and Hamilton City Council.
Another submitter said that substituting pokies for Blackjack is like “comparing apples and oranges.” Hamilton City Council has a sinking lid policy on pokies and the submitter said that “allowing an 8% increase in Electronic Gaming Machines [pokies]… would be a slap in the face to our community’s desire to reduce harm.”
A submitter who used to work in an administrative capacity at the Casino said “what the Casino earned on the higher entry cost to table games did not make up for the greater numbers and higher frequency of visits by people predominately using the pokie machines.”
You can read the PGF Group submission by clicking here.
So, what happens now? Relevant parties now have the opportunity to reply to written submissions; the deadline for these will be 31 May and they will be published on the Gambling Commission’s website.
The Gambling Commission will then hold a public hearing, and those who requested, and are accepted, to speak to the Commission will have the opportunity to do so. The date and location of the public hearing is yet to be set.
Kristine Aitchison is the communications coordinator at the PGF Group. For more information on our blog please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.