WELLINGTON, June 1 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government has announced changes to strengthen requirements in venues with pokie (gambling) machines, which will come into effect from June 15.
"Pokies are one of the most harmful forms of gambling. They can have a detrimental impact on individuals, their friends, whanau (families) and communities," Internal Affairs Minister Barbara Edmonds said on Thursday.
Changes which apply to pubs, clubs and TAB NZ venues, will be staggered over the next six months, giving the sector enough time to provide training to staff and implement necessary layout requirements, Edmonds said.
Three new infringement offenses come into force, ensuring more robust enforcement of existing harm minimization regulations, including on branding and advertising requirements, according to the changes.
There are also new requirements about what problem gambling awareness training must cover, including mandatory sessions on how to interact with gamblers, identify signs of harm and provide gamblers with information on how they can seek help.
"Each year, pokies are the biggest driver of people seeking gambling-related help in New Zealand. It is clear that these changes need to be made to help venues better identify and minimize harm to players," the minister said.