Pokie spending patterns continue

20 April 2017

Proceeds from pub and club gaming machines in the first three months of this year were $7.8 million or 3.9 per cent more than for the same period last year but, in line with annual trends, less than at the end of 2016, according to figures from the Department of Internal Affairs. Spending totalled $207.3 million for the quarter ending 31 March 2017, compared with $199.5 million for quarter ending 31 March 2016.

Gaming machine expenditure has been relatively stable since 2010 when the March year total was $856.7 million, one per cent less than this year’s spend of $865.9 million. Monitoring and analysis is underway by the Department to see if recent increases become a trend.

Preliminary results from the 2016 Health and Lifestyle Survey indicate there has been no increase in the overall prevalence of problem gambling from 2014 to 2016.  These indicate a downward trend but do not achieve statistical significance. The planned national gambling survey for 2017 will indicate whether this downward trend has been sustained.  When taking into account population growth from 2014 to 2016, the preliminary results indicate there has been no significant increase in the numbers of people who meet criteria for problem gambling.

There were fewer licence holders, gambling venues and gaming machines at 31 March 2017, compared with 12 months earlier. Over the year licence holders fell 4.5 per cent from 292 to 279, venues declined 2 per cent from 1224 to 1196, and gaming machines dropped 1.6 per cent from 16,274 to 16,013.

Between the fourth quarter of 2016 and the first quarter of 2017 spending dropped $16.3 million, from $223.6 million at the end of December to $207.3 million at 31 March 2017, licence holders fell from 281 to 279, venues declined from 1206 to 1196 and the number of gaming machines decreased from 16,148 to 16,013.

Non-casino GM spending by Society Type – January-March 2017

Society Type Total GMP Quarter % of Total
Non-Club 183,732,597.80 88.6
Sports Clubs 3,235,528.07 1.6
Chartered Clubs 14,263,535.96 8.2
RSAs 6,102,150.62 2.9
Total Club 23,601,214.65 11.4
Total All 207,333,812.45 100.0

The spending is captured through the electronic monitoring of non-casino gaming machines (EMS), which became fully operational in March 2007, enabling the Department to track and monitor operations, ensure the integrity of games and the accurate accounting of money.

A regional breakdown of expenditure is available from the Department’s Gaming Statistics web page. The figures are based on territorial authority boundaries, including Auckland city.

Footnote: We don’t adjust these quarterly stats for inflation or population, only the annual gambling expenditure statistics covering the four main forms of gambling – casinos, racing, lotteries and class 4.

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