Gambling machines

Gambling greatly affects many aspects of society and is associated with a number of negative impacts on the lives of individuals and families. For some people, gambling can become problematic, leading to outcomes including addiction, social isolation, depression, suicide, relationship breakdown, lowered work productivity, job loss, bankruptcy, and crime, including family violence [13].

Studies of the detrimental effects of gambling have confirmed a link between the geographic accessibility of gambling establishments and the prevalence of problem gambling [14-16]. People living close to all types of gambling premises have a higher chance of becoming problematic gamblers than those living at a distance from gambling premises [17]. Gambling machine establishments (specifically ‘Class 4 venues’ or ‘non-casino’ pubs and clubs) are typically clustered within socioeconomically deprived areas [18-20] and this has been shown to widen existing social and health inequalities [19,21]. Gambling tends to be ‘economically regressive’, meaning that it increases inequality by diverting money from a larger group (typically of lower socioeconomic status) to a smaller group (of higher socioeconomic status) [22].

Gambling machine density has reduced steadily in New Zealand since the early 2000s, in large part due to the adoption of ‘sinking lid’ policies by many Territorial Authorities (when an existing ‘pokie’ venue closes, consent is not granted for another to be established) [23]. Despite the reduction in machine density (and spending), the, previously falling, prevalence of gambling-related problems appears to have plateaued in New Zealand, and substantial differences remain between some demographic groups [24].

This indicator presents gambling machine density (the number of gambling machines per 10,000 population), in greater Christchurch and New Zealand from 2008 to 2018 (Internet or live casino games are not captured by this measure). Gambling machine proceeds, per annum, per 10,000 population aged 15 years and over, are also described.

The figure shows that gambling machine density in greater Christchurch has declined substantially over the last ten years, from 60.7 machines per 10,000 population in 2008 to 38.1 machines per 10,000 population in 2018. This pattern is broadly in line with gambling machine density across New Zealand.

Similarly, gambling machine proceeds, per annum, per 10,000 population aged 15 years and over have been steadily declining across greater Christchurch and New Zealand over the last ten years. For greater Christchurch, gambling machine proceeds have declined from $2.62M per 10,000 population aged 15 years and over, in 2008 ($262 per person) to $2.09M per 10,000 population aged 15 years and over, in 2018 ($209 per person), (data not shown).

For New Zealand, gambling machine proceeds have declined from $2.71M to $2.31M per 10,000 population over this time period. Although proceeds are down overall between 2008 and 2018, gambling machine proceeds for New Zealand have been increasing slightly over the last three years, up from $2.25M in 2015.

The figure shows the gambling machine density per 10,000 population for Christchurch City, and the Selwyn and Waimakariri districts, from 2008 to 2018. The pattern is one of declining density overall, in keeping with the national picture. There is higher gambling machine density in Christchurch City, as the largest urban centre, and lower density in Selwyn District.

The pattern for gambling machine proceeds for Christchurch City and the Waimakariri and Selwyn districts (NZD per annum, per 10,000 population aged 15 years and over) is one of overall decline, which is broadly in line with gambling machine density across New Zealand overall (data not shown). For 2018, gambling machine proceeds are highest in Christchurch City ($2,363,422/10,000 population or $236 per person) and lowest in Selwyn District ($831,425/10,000 population or $83 per person). Gambling machine proceeds per individual machine are also substantially lower in Selwyn District compared with Christchurch City and Waimakariri District (data not shown). Gambling machine proceeds for the Waimakariri District were approximately midway between Christchurch City and Selwyn District in 2018 ($1,602,500/10,000 population or $160 per person).

Data Sources

Source: Department of Internal Affairs.
Survey/data set: Administrative data to December 2018. Access publicly available data from the Department of Internal Affairs website www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Resource-material-Information-We-Provide-Gaming-Machine-Venues-Numbers-and-Expenditure-by-Territorial-AuthorityDistrict
Source data frequency: Quarterly.

View technical notes and data tables for this indicator.

Updated: 05/08/2019