27 Sep 2012

Committee hears gaming submissions

9:47 pm on 27 September 2012

The Gaming Technologies Association has warned Parliament it would be a mammoth task installing player tracking devices and pre-pay systems in all pokie machines.

The Commerce Select Committee is considering submissions on a member's bill, in the name of the Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell, that would overhaul the gaming sector to reduce gambling harm.

Its proposal include making gaming machine venue operators keep track of each gambler's overall losses and time spent gambling and equipping them with pre-paid cards.

Association chief executive Ross Ferrar told MPs it would take at least eight months to change the software in just one game to accept pre-paid cards.

He says more than 2000 games are used in New Zealand in gaming venues, and it would be better to include those functions in new games as they are made.

In another submission, the Hospitality Association says the way gaming machine operators are paid is diabolical and costly.

The bill proposes paying operators using a commission-based payment system.

Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Bruce Robertson told the committee moving to a commission-based system for venue operators would be simpler and less costly.

He says the current system only reimburses operators for reasonable expenses and requires an enormous amount of paper work.

Mr Robertson says the level of commission for operators could be set at between 10 and 16%.