Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand seeks judicial review of gambling regulations

GMANZ raises issues regarding lack of proper consultation in developing new regulations

Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand seeks judicial review of gambling regulations

In a recent High Court hearing, the Gaming Machine Association of New Zealand (GMANZ) sought a judicial review of certain aspects of the Department of Internal Affairs’ (DIA) new gambling regulations.

The final phase of these regulations will be implemented on December 1. This has prompted concerns from industry representatives about the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed measures.

GMANZ, while supportive of regulations aimed at minimising harm, raised issues regarding the lack of proper consultation in the development process. The judicial review proceedings are expected to assess the extent of consultation in developing the new regulations and their provisions, including the extent of the surveillance of all players and the reporting requirements imposed.

"The way these new regulations were developed without proper consultation is a continuation of the way the Government has treated those of us at the coal face,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, Independent Chair of GMANZ.

GMANZ also raised concerns that many of the provisions in the new regulations were unreasonable, irrational, unworkable, and emblematic of much larger problems in the Class 4 gambling regulation space.

“Who is better at identifying potential harm than the people working in the venues?” Thrush said. “Many of the proposed regulations pay lip service to harm minimisation – or may cause more harm – and are decisions made by technocrats with zero experience inside Class 4 venues.”

Thrush identified serious workability issues with the new regulations, such as cash withdrawal duties and the associated gaming area sweep duties. Thrush also pointed to a broader issue by suggesting that the regulatory framework lacked a connection to the reality of Class 4 venues and the staff who do the brunt of that front-line problem gambling reduction work.

“We want non-compliant bad actors in our industry to be prosecuted as much as anyone,” Thrush said. “But this type of regulation in this industry is just not good enough – our people at the coal face deserve better.”

According to Thrush, the common ground across the industry is reducing harm and supporting those who need it. "None of our members want anyone harmed in any venues,” Thrush said. “We want any hosts not taking their responsibility seriously to be targeted and those not following processes to face prosecution.”

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