Southland District Council Wants Your Take On The Casino Industry

Robert Longthorpe - Senior Writer
Robert Longthorpe
20 May 2022 in News
Southland District Casino Poll

We're sure many of you out there have a few things to say about online casinos in New Zealand. Whether you'd like to weigh in on how certain sites are run, or the types of casino games they offer, or the way in which they conduct their responsible gaming policies, we're sure many people would have an opinion if given the chance. Well, now is your time. Southland District has released a request for public feedback on a few of their gambling policies. This is directly related to the 'soft sinking lid' scheme put in place by the council in 2013. The council has urged citizens to give their feedback so as to better its approach to gambling regulations within the area.

Read on below for more now!

The Soft Sinking Lid Explained

The Soft Sinking Lid scheme was introduced by the council in 2013. This is directed at the use of land-based poker machines. The Southland District wished to reduce the amount of existing electronic gambling machines, and they succeeded.

Since 2013, the number of poker machines within the area has dropped from 133 to 88 as of a count done in September 2021. This may seem like a slow decline in physical machines, but that’s the whole point of the soft sinking lid scheme.

The Soft Sinking Lid scheme is intended to reduce the number of gambling machines slowly over a long period of time.

The reason for the slow approach is twofold:

  1. Firstly, it will ensure the economy is not affected by a sudden loss of income from a certain sector
  2. Secondly, the residents of the area who do gamble won’t be forced into a new way of life suddenly

As you can see, on paper, this approach seems flawless. However, the results of the scheme offer another outcome altogether.

The Results Of The Soft Sinking Lid Approach

This approach has been met with both positive and unaltered results. Let’s review the pros first.

Since the implementation of the soft sinking lid scheme in 2013, there have been:

  • A significant decline in gambling properties in the Southland District
  • A decline in physical poker machines within the district
  • No application for new casino licenses has been received in over three years

However, a few key factors remain unchanged:

  • There has been no noticeable increase or decrease in problem gambling within the area
  • The revenue generated by the gambling market has remained neutral throughout the soft sinking lid scheme

The above tells us, in short, that if people want to play, they’ll find a place to do so.

A Summation Of The Soft Sinking Lid Scheme And Why You Should Lend Your Voice

Here is a short summary of what the Soft Sinking Lid strategy entails:

  1. A reduction in physical gambling games
  2. No new casino licenses will be issued
  3. Any pre-existing electronic gambling machine may remain
  4. Any pre-existing machine may be serviced to remain operational
  5. Any pre-existing gambling machine may be replaced if broken
  6. Current permits can be transferred between businesses
  7. The practice is to be fulfilled over the course of years, not suddenly

While the council has requested the public’s say, they do not anticipate much negative response. This can be based on the information gained over the last TAB and gambling Venue consultation period.

However, your voice matters! The council needs feedback so as to better serve their community. You will have until the middle of next month (June 2022) to give your feedback.

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