The Gambling Act 2003 required territorial authorities to adopt a Class 4 Gambling Venue and under the Racing industry Act terriotrial authorities must adopt a policy on TAB venues.
Class 4 gambling
Class 4 Gambling refers to gambling that utilises a gaming machine (sometimes referred to as “pokies”) and where the net proceeds from the gambling are distributed to the community as grants or in the case of clubs can be applied to support a club’s operations and activities.
In the Gambling Act 2003, Class 4 Gambling is categorized as
- Gambling that is not gambling of another class and that satisfies the following criteria
- The net proceeds from the gambling are applied to or distributed for authorised purposes
- No commission is paid to, or received by, a person for conducting the gambling
- The gambling satisfies relevant game rules
- Gambling that utilizes or involves a gaming machine
What is Council's role?
Council approval is required for new premises (and sometimes for increases in machine numbers for existing premises) as part of the Gambling Act overall licensing process.
Gambling Venue Policy
This policy outlines Council’s responsibility and role in dealing with gambling venues within the Matamata-Piako District.
Application Process Flowchart
Frequently Asked Questions
Class 4 gambling is defined as the use of non-casino electronic gaming machines (commonly known as “pokies”) and is regulated under the Gambling Act 2003, administered by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).
Class 4 gambling may be conducted by a corporate society to raise money for an authorised purpose (e.g. community and non-commercial). Corporate Societies must return at least 40 percent of the profits from the money gambled on pokie machines to authorised community purposes, with millions of dollars returned to the community via grants each year. You can find out how much money is returned to our communities here.
Class 4 gambling can also be hosted by clubs and the money raised must be returned for authorised purposes. This is generally for the provision and betterment of club facilities or the benefit of club members, and must be in alignment with the Gambling Act 2003.
You can find the latest class 4 venue and machine numbers for our district as well as the total spend here.
TAB venues are standalone venues that are owned or leased by TAB NZ and where the main business carried out at the business is racing and/or sports betting. TAB betting is regulated under the Racing Industry Act 2020, administered by the DIA.
Currently there are no TAB venues in the district, however if the TAB wishes to operate a standalone venue, consent must be sought from Council.
Council’s role is to adopt policy to regulate gambling and betting in their district. The Policies can set restrictions on gambling and betting in the district including how many venues are permitted and where they may be located.
Having local policies facilitates the opportunity for local involvement over where and how gambling and betting should be permitted.
Class 4 Gambling Venue Policy
The Gambling Act 2003 requires Council to have a Gambling Venue Policy. The Policy must specify whether or not class 4 venues can be established in the Council area, and if so, where they can be located. The Policy can also specify any restrictions on the maximum number of gaming machines that may be operated at a class 4 venue and may include a relocation policy.
Matamata-Piako Council aims to strike a balance between allowing for the provision of gambling, whilst setting a cap on the numbers of venues and machines permitted. Council is aware of the need to minimise gambling harm whilst allowing vital funds to be generated for community groups.
Our Policy sets a cap of 15 venues and 201 machines and allows for relocations under certain circumstances. The current Policy can be found here.
TAB Venue Policy
The Racing Industry Act 2020 requires Council to have a TAB Venue Policy. The Policy must specify whether or not TAB venues can be established in the Council area, and if so, where they can be located.
Our Policy sets a cap of one TAB venue per town; Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Aroha, and the current Policy can be found here.
Council last reviewed its Policies in 2022 with a further review to be undertaken in three years’ time as per the relevant legislative requirements.
When reviewing these Policies, Council considers the social impact of gambling and betting on our communities and provides an opportunity for our community to let us know what they think.
A Social Impact Assessment is prepared to assess the benefits and impacts of such activities. This document helps our community to understand the effects of gambling and betting, to assist when reviewing the draft policies and for Council policy setting and direction.
Council consent is required if operators propose to:
- Establish a new gaming machine venue
- Increase the number of machines that may be operated at an existing venue
- Relocate an existing class 4 venue
- Merge two or more clubs
Once consent is granted by Council, it is tied to the venue, not the operator, and does not expire. The applicant is then required to apply for an operator’s licence from the DIA. Council consent does not expire apart from if the applicant fails to secure an operator’s licence from the DIA within six months of the granting of Council consent, in which case any venue consents issued for a venue will be considered void.
Venues are licensed and monitored by the DIA who are responsible for the ongoing operation of class 4 gambling in that venue including the setting of requirements, compliance and enforcement activities.
The maximum number of machines allowed per venue is set by legislation at 18 for venues that held a class 4 venue licence on 17 October 2001, and 9 for venues where a class 4 venue licence was granted after 17 October 2001.
Council does not have jurisdiction over existing class 4 gaming in the District and can only influence further growth.
Pubs and bars that have TAB facilities available, but where racing/sports betting is not their primary function, are not considered to be TAB venues and therefore this falls outside of Council’s TAB Venue Policy and jurisdiction.
Operators wishing to apply for a new venue consent to host gaming machines, to apply to increase the number of machines, or to apply for a new TAB venue consent must apply to Council using the online form here.
The application form contains checklist as a quick guide for what you need to include with your application. A flowchart detailing the application process can be found here.
If Council consent is granted, applicants must then apply to the DIA for a class 4 operator’s licence. Further information about this can be accessed here.
Applications are assessed by the delegated body or person approved by Council in accordance with its Delegations Policy and Register.
Council follows DIA guidelines when assessing applications. The decision to grant consent must be made in respect to Council’s Gambling Venue Policy or TAB Venue Policies as applicable. The guidelines can be found here.
Council is particularly interested in the views of the local community in the granting of the consent in consideration of any potential impacts on the surrounding area. Accordingly, applicants are required to discuss their application with affected parties (including community and educational facilities and places of assembly) within 250 meters of the proposed venue and provide written approvals. A form to print to undertake this process can be found here.
If written approvals are not obtained from all affected parties, and one or more of the affected parties wishes to speak to their views and perspectives of the granting of the consent at a hearing, this will be arranged and a decision communicated to the applicant within 15 days of the hearing.
If a hearing is not required, the application will be determined by the Chair of the delegated Committee on the papers provided and applicants will be advised of a decision within 30 working days upon receipt of a completed application form and supporting documents.
For TAB venue applications, a decision will be communicated within 30 working days.
Once consent for a class 4 venue is granted by Council, applicants then need to apply for a class 4 operator’s licence from the DIA.
The DIA has a stringent process to ensure that operators demonstrate a satisfactory level of compliance with responsible gaming codes of practice, ethical operations and problem gambling harm minimisation practices. The DIA also determine the reliability of operators including the suitability for operators to supervise the conduct of class 4 gambling at the proposed venue.
For TAB venues, the venue must be owned or leased by TAB NZ, and no other corporate society holds or has held in the last five years a class 4 venue licence for the venue. DIA also assess that the risk of problem gambling is minimised, that the proposed venue is suitable, and the application is in accordance with the Racing Industry Act 2020. The proposed venue must be used mainly for sports betting or racing betting.
The provision of class 4 gambling is heavily regulated, and the DIA looks after and monitors this process following Council consent and the granting of an operator’s licence. Regulation is achieved through licensing gambling operators, setting requirements, and compliance and enforcement activities. Requirements include minimum games standards, game rules, returning a specified percentage of gambling proceeds to the community and/or employment and economic development, implementing harm minimisation policies, and cooperating with monitoring and auditing including through technology.
To find out more, please visit the gambling section of the DIA’s website.
Council is aware that problem gambling can have severe and far reaching impacts on individuals and their whānau. However, responsible gambling can be a form of entertainment and helps to return funds to community groups and organisations through charitable trusts. Council aim to provide policies that strike a balance between these two.
For further information on the benefits and impact of gambling and betting you can read our latest Social Impact Assessment here.
The Ministry of Health produces a range of useful publications about this it on its website here.
Council aims to provide policy in accordance with the gambling harm minimisation aims of the relevant legislation by the use of a cap on the total number of class 4 gambling venues and pokie machines permitted in the district. Council’s TAB Policy restricts the number of venues to one per township – Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Aroha.
Council has also included provisions within our policies to protect the interests and concerns of our communities. Some of these include:
- .Maintaining the same venue and machine caps since 2017
- The ability for Council to refuse consent on the grounds of the proximity of other opportunities for gambling in the local area to the proposed venue
- Refusal of consent if families and young people are likely to be present at the proposed venue
- Requiring applicants to consult with affected parties within 250m including schools, childcare facilities, community facilities or places of assembly
- Requiring applicants to demonstrate that they are likely to have a minimal negative impact on the surrounding community
- Evidence of harm minimisation strategies and local community benefit
- Listening to local community feedback regarding any applications when considering the granting or refusal of consent
- Considering the effects of gambling and what that will mean for the community, particularly if a proposed venue/increase of machines is in an area of high deprivation
- Not allowing venues to relocate to an area of higher deprivation
- Ensuring that gambling activity must not be visible to passing pedestrians
- Council’s preference is for premises operating class 4 gambling to be located within the Business Zone under the Matamata-Piako District Plan