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Gambling Venue and TAB Venue Policies

We recently seeked feedback on our TAB Venue Policy and Gambling Venue Policy, which we are required to review every three years.

There is no doubt that problem gambling can cause significant harm to individuals and families. But responsible gambling can be entertaining, and helps return funds to community groups and organisations through charitable trusts.

TAB Venue Policy

Our TAB Venue Policy restricts the number of venues to one per township – Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Aroha.


Following the consultation process, we gathered the following feedback:

  • A majority of the respondents advocated for a sinking lid policy with no TAB venues allowed to be established in the district with others supporting our proposal to keep the existing cap. 
  • No further comments were provided in regards to the TAB policy, with general comments made in respect to the gambling venue policy.

Taking into consideration all the submissions received, we have resolved to adopt the draft TAB Venue Policy with no changes.

Summary of Decisions:

  • Retain the current cap of one TAB venue per town (Matamata, Morrinsville and Te Aroha) for the following reasons:
    • The cap allows for some growth, whilst acknowledging that historically there have been no standalone TAB venues in the district. We will maintain the same cap since the policy was first adopted in 2007 with no applications received in recent years.
    • Having a cap of one venue per town still allows for the opportunity for a TAB venue to be established should there be demand for a standalone venue. Should a venue be consented, we will continue to monitor the impact of this in future policy reviews.
    • We decided not to introduce a sinking lid policy due to the availability of other methods to participate in racing and sports betting e.g. online and TAB facilities within pubs and bars.

Gambling Venue Policy


Taking into careful consideration all submitions recieved, we noted the following themes from the submissions received:

  • Concern about the impact of gambling in our communities, with the issue often under reported. Some health and social services organisations urged us to adopt a sinking lid policy.
  • Other submissions concurred that the policy struck an appropriate balance by allowing gambling to occur in a controlled environment. Whilst minimising harm via the use of a cap. The significant amount of funding received from class 4 gaming and distributed to the community was seen as a vital source of income for many local community groups.
  • A rise in online gambling was seen as a growing issue of concern and was raised by several submitters as an unregulated form of gambling. A rise in spend was reported, coupled with a lack of harm minimisation practices, and grants to the community, or funding to the Government to support harm prevention.
  • Submitters raised the issue of the potential risk of having two or more clubs merge in our district, with the potential of having 30 gaming machines located in one venue.

After careful consideration of all the feedback gathered, we've resolved to no new changes to the draft Gambling Venue Policy and have made the following decisions:

Summary of Decisions:

  • Amend the venue and machine ratios to reflect 2021 population estimates but retain the current cap. We do consider the concerns about the provision of gambling in our communities is best addressed via the use of a cap and our exisiting policy. 
  • Maintain the relocation policy - This clause allows us to use its discretion on a case by case basis. With the social impact of gambling into the particular area, taken into consideration when considering consent for a venue to relocate.
  • Not introducing a sinking lid policy at this stage - Based on the evidence received, we've decided not to introduce such a policy, due to the provision of gambling in Matamata-Piako remaining stable since December 2019, the low rate of recorded harm in the district, and a lower machine spend per head, density of machines and problem gambling referrals than many other neighbouring councils. 
  • Safe provision of gambling – We will ensure applicants demonstrate evidence of consultation with affected parties, evidence of gambling harm minimisation policies as well as policies aimed at actively returning funding obtained back to the local community or club.
  • The concentration of gaming machines that could occur through club mergers is acknowledged. However this is allowed for in section 95 of the Gambling Act with Ministerial approval required, and it is noted that Clubs are unique in that their proceeds support the club’s members and the community.

The above policy became operational on 1 July 2022 and can be found here.

Find out more

We've completed a Social Impact Assessment of gambling in the Matamata-Piako District to help people understand how gambling is impacting our community (both positive and negative impacts), and how Matamata-Piako compares to other areas. 

We've also developed some FAQs (below) to help explain some of the terms, legislation, and rules in our district. 

View the Statement of Proposal - this provides a more detailed summary of the proposed changes and alternative options

Read the draft TAB Venue Policy

Read the draft Gambling Venue Policy

1. What is Class 4 Gambling?

Class 4 Gambling involves the use of "non-casino electronic gaming machines" (commonly known as ‘pokies’).  

New Zealand has a unique system that is set up to provide millions of dollars to the community from the money gambled on pokie machines in pubs and clubs.