Capping Gambling in NZ: The effectiveness of local government policy interventions

Published online: 
13 April 2021
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An analysis of the impact of three territorial authority electronic gaming machine (class 4) policies on gambling harm in New Zealand including:

  1. absolute caps on the number of electronic gaming machines (EGMs) and/or venues 
  2. per capita caps on the number of EGMs and/or venues 
  3. sinking lid policies (restricting transfer of Class 4 licences to slowly reduce availability over time).

The report’s findings demonstrate that all three forms of policy intervention are effective in reducing Class 4 venues and EGMs relative to the reference group (ie, territorial authorities with no restrictions beyond those in the Gambling Act 2003).

The report also provides an assessment of the impact of local government Class 4 gambling policies on the number of EGMs, venues, and machine spending.

Sinking lids and per capita caps are equally the most effective at reducing machine spending. Compared to the reference group, either of these policy interventions has the cumulative impact of reducing gambling expenditure by an estimated 13 to 14 per cent. Absolute caps were found to reduce overall gambling expenditure by 10 per cent. 

The report also assessed the indirect impact on the use of Ministry-funded clinical intervention services as well as personal bankruptcy rates. 

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    13 April 2021
  • ISBN:
  • Citation:
    Erwin, C., Lees, K., Pacheco, G. & Turcu, A. 2020. Capping Gambling in NZ: The effectiveness of local government policy interventions. Auckland: New Zealand Work Research Institute.
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
  • Copyright status:

    Third-party content. Please check the document or email the Web Manager to find out how to obtain permission to re-use content.

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