Harm prevention and minimisation

The Gambling (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Amendment Regulations 2023 impose new requirements for corporate societies licensed to conduct class 4 gambling, including new training requirements, to better equip venue supervising staff to identify and help problem gamblers, and new monitoring and recording obligations.

Signs of harm

The regulations require venue managers to ensure that venue supervising personnel consider whether any player is exhibiting any signs of harm, including:

  • Gambling for 9 or more consecutive gaming area sweeps (equivalent to 3 hours or more) without taking a break.
  • Waiting to gamble as soon as the venue opens.
  • Withdrawing, or attempting to withdraw, cash from an automatic teller machine or EFTPOS on 2 or more occasions in 1 day to use for gambling at the venue.
  • Attempting to borrow money from venue personnel or other venue customers to use for gambling.
  • Refusing to stop gambling at the venue when the venue is closing, or otherwise appearing unable to stop gambling.
  • Appearing visibly distressed or angry either during or after gambling (for example, crying, holding their head in their hands, or hitting a machine).
  • Leaving children in a car or otherwise unattended at the venue

Where they identify a player exhibiting one or more of these signs, venue personnel must have a conversation with that player to assist with identifying whether the player is a problem gambler.

The new regulations require venues to keep records of information that relates to each sign of harm identified, including information that would assist venue staff in identifying a player who displayed the sign of harm, a summary of the conversation with the player and any further action taken in respect of the player. They are not required to identify the player by name.

Players should not be offended when staff are carrying out their duties as required under the new regulations, which are linked here.

See also link to new infringement offence regulations.

Harm Prevention and Minimisation Policy and Manual

NZCT's venue policy and information manual for venue staff have been updated to reflect the 2023 regulatory changes. See:

Harm Minimisation Policy - Sept 23 pdf
Uploaded Sept. 12, 2023, 3:02 a.m. 117.8 KB
Harm Minimisation Manual - Sept 2023 pdf
Uploaded May 7, 2023, 8:37 p.m. 434.7 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.


Strictly controlled environments

A complex range of regulatory requirements are in place to support the government's objective to prevent and minimise the harm that can be caused by excessive use of pokie machines. Harm prevention and minimisation measures that gaming societies, their venue managers and venue staff are required to meet include:

  • limiting stakes and prize money
  • displaying odds of winning
  • restricting gaming rooms to people over the age of 18 years
  • interrupting play 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
  • not accepting $50 and $100 notes
  • not allowing ATMs in gambling areas
  • prohibiting pokie advertising
  • electronic monitoring of every gaming machine’s takings
  • prohibiting syndicated play.

All venues must:

  • ensure that all venue supervising staff are trained in harm prevention and minimisation to the criteria prescribed in the 2023 amendment regulations. Trained staff must be on duty at all times the gaming machines are operating
  • have a gambling harm prevention and minimisation policy in place
  • display pamphlets and signs directing gamblers to help services
  • have staff who understand how to issue and enforce exclusion orders
  • have staff who can help problem gamblers if they have an ongoing concern about them.

What we do to prevent harm

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

  • pays a problem gambling levy to the Ministry of Health of around $1 million a year - 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 pack that includes our harm prevention and minimisation policy and manual, exclusion orders, a pad of gambling host responsibility record sheets, and other resources
  • trains all gaming venue supervising staff to the new requirements of the Gambling (Harm Prevention and Minimisation) Amendment Regulations 2023, including practical and interactive elements, to assist them to recognise and help problem gamblers.
  • employs technology to support its harm prevention and minimisation strategy, for example, online training of venue staff and facial recognition in some venues.