Harm minimisation

As a corporate society licensed to conduct class 4 gambling, NZCT is fully aware of its obligations under the Gambling Act 2003 to prevent and minimise the harm caused by gambling, including problem gambling. NZCT takes these obligations very seriously. We train all our venue staff in harm prevention and minimisation.

Harm min training for venue staff

Download our Problem Gambling factsheet (PDF, 52 kb)

The pub gaming industry 

The Department of Internal Affairs is responsible for monitoring the class 4 gambling industry to ensure it adheres to relevant rules, regulations and legislative requirements. The penalties for non-compliance include fines, suspensions, loss of operating licence and potential criminal charges.

The class 4 gambling industry has come under intense scrutiny during the past few years. As a consequence, the Gambling Act was amended in 2013 and 2015 to provide further controls, increase transparency and allow greater efficiency.


Strictly controlled environments

To prevent and minimise the harm that can be caused by excessive use of pokie machines, the government has set in place a substantial number of harm minimisation measures that gaming societies, their venue managers and venue staff are required to meet. These include that:

  • stake and prize money are limited 
  • odds of winning must be displayed
  • gaming rooms are restricted to people over the age of 18 years
  • gaming rooms can only be operated in adult environments (e.g. pubs, nightclubs, clubs)
  • play is interrupted every 30 minutes with an update on how long the player has been at the machine, how much money they’ve spent and their net wins and losses
  • $50 and $100 notes are not accepted
  • no ATMs are allowed in gambling areas
  • pokie advertising is restricted
  • the Department of Internal Affairs monitors every gaming machine’s takings
  • syndicated play is prohibited
  • all venues must have staff trained in gambling harm minimisation on duty
  • all venues must have a gambling harm minimisation policy in place
  • all venues must display pamphlets and signs directing gamblers to help services
  • venue staff must be able to issue and enforce exclusion orders
  • venue staff must help problem gamblers if they have an ongoing concern about them.

What we do to prevent harm

NZCT takes harm minimisation very seriously. To prevent and reduce the harm caused by excessive gambling, NZCT:

  • pays a problem gambling levy to the Ministry of Health ($1.4 million in 2015) - these funds contribute towards the ministry's Preventing and Minimising Gambling Harm Strategic Plan, which includes public health services (for example, the Health Promotion Agency advertising campaigns), intervention services, research, evaluation and workforce development
  • gives all our gaming venues a harm minimisation manual that includes our harm prevention and minimisation policy, exclusion orders and a harm minimisation register
  • trains all gaming venue staff to recognise and help problem gamblers (around 300 face-to-face training sessions per year, plus online training as required)
  • displays signs and distributes pamphlets that encourage problem gamblers to seek help.