Department of Internal Affairs - Directors Update Mar 22

Department of Internal Affairs - Directors Update Mar 22

It's been a challenging start to the year in Aotearoa New Zealand with the resurgence of Covid-19 in our communities, the arrival of the Omicron variant and disruptive protests on our doorstep here in Wellington.

Director's Update 

News and Views March 2022

Kia ora

We are working in a tricky environment but that hasn’t stopped us forging ahead with the things that matter in the gambling regulatory world. I’d like to take this opportunity to share some of the mahi we are doing and partnerships we are strengthening.

Last year a lot of discussion with you was around Harm Minimisation and ensuring there is commitment to best practice and consistency. The first stage of Government lead change is a review of the regulations, with Minister Tinetti launching the “Reducing Pokie Harm” consultation. I encourage you to read and contribute to this very important review.

This year you’ll see us strengthen our data driven approach. Data is playing an increasingly important role in how organisations and policy makers create stories that communicate the impact of gambling related harms, but also to demonstrate how pokie grants distributions influence the well-being of New Zealand’s communities.

Recently we asked for feedback on proposed changes to various operational policies, thank you to all those who responded. The final operational policy for venue level GMP data and Working Capital ratio reporting will be available soon, along with the revised National Standard and Game Rules. My team will be in contact when these documents are available.

Ngā mihi nui,

Dave Robson

Gambling Director

New rule changes to the Class 3 licence - good news for fundraisers!

Changes have been made to the Class 3 rules to allow online and digital payments following feedback from many licence holders that the impact of Covid-19 affected critical community benefit fundraising efforts.

These changes are great news for anyone involved in fundraising. Less physical contact  and going digital means people can choose how, where and when they pay.

The greatest benefit is that it makes it easier for people to support fundraising efforts to help communities of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Investigation into club treasurer leads to prosecution

On 10 March 2022, DIA successfully prosecuted a Whakatane-based person who plead guilty to five counts of theft by person in a special relationship, four counts of making a false document, and two counts of using a forged document under the Gambling Act 2003.

This person applied for and obtained money on behalf of a rugby club where she was both treasurer and trusted fundraiser. She used this special and often unsupervised position to benefit herself rather than the community organisation she represented. 

This successful prosecution is a win for communities and demonstrates the ability of DIA to protect the integrity of the gambling regulatory system and shows that we will pursue cases where there is evidence of applying for pokie grants fraudulently or dishonestly.

Things Kiwis try to raffle - and why some might be breaking the law...


Raffles are a great way to raise funds for good but there are a few rules that some people may not be aware of – including what can and can’t be used as prizes.

In 2019, an Auckland woman made the headlines by trying to raffle an old British army tank worth $45,000. While an army tank is a perfectly legal prize, the raffle was withdrawn because the value of the prize meant it would be classified as a Class 3 gambling action. Therefore, the raffle needed to be licensed and run by an authorised society.

Most people don't realise that raffles and sweepstakes are considered 'lottery games' under the Gambling Act 2003 and if the prize is worth more than $5,000 you must have a licence and money raised must go to an authorised charitable purpose.

There are some things that can’t be offered as prizes such as alcohol, weapons and taonga tuturu (an object more than 50 years old that relates to Māori culture, history or society, and was manufactured, modified, used or brought into New Zealand by Māori).


Pokies rules - have your say


Pokies are just a bit of fun… or are they? For most people the answer is yes, but for one in five pokie players, the answer is that they can be harmful. In fact, pokies are the most harmful form of land-based gambling in Aotearoa.

We want to change this. That’s why we’re looking at three ways to reduce pokies harm in our communities; in venues, at the machines themselves, and at the rules.

And we want to hear from you. About your experience with pokies, and about what you think needs to change


$2.63 billion was spent on gambling in Aotearoa in 2020/21