Electronic Gambling Machines in New Zealand: A Local Government Policy Analysis
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Problem gambling is a significant public health concern, affecting approximately 11 percent of New Zealanders each year (Department of Internal Affairs, 2008). Class 4 gambling, defined as non-casino electronic gaming machines and commonly referred to as “pokies”, contributes the most harm to New Zealand compared to other types of gambling (Ministry of Health, 2019). We focus on the direct impact of local government policy instruments on the number of electronic gaming machines, venues, and gambling expenditure. Our key finding is that a reduction in access to Class 4 gambling is estimated to reduce gambling expenditure from electronic gaming machines by between 10 and 14 percent, relative to the reference group. Additionally, this research examines the indirect effects of territorial authority policies on crime. We focus specifically on addiction-related crimes involving alcohol and drugs. We find no significant impacts of gambling policies on this narrow subset of criminal offences.