22 Apr 2009

Less money spent at gaming machines

9:09 pm on 22 April 2009

New Zealanders are spending less on gaming machines as the recession takes hold.

Figures released by the Deaprtment of Internal Affairs show money from pokie machines fell by almost 10% in the three months to March.

Spending fell to $208.7 million, down from $230 million in the December quarter.

Overall, there has been a 4.5% dip in spending over the past 12 months, putting pressure on charities which rely on funding provided by the use of gaming machines.

The department's director of gambling compliance Mike Hill says spending is down in almost every part of the country.

Mr Hill says it appears the recession is having major impact on gaming revenue, although there is no real data to back that up, the overall trend has been down for the past year.

But problem gambling organisations say the downturn may also be caused by people moving from gambling on pokie machines to gambling on the internet.

The number of pokie machines in New Zealand has also dropped to just over over 20,000.