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Friday, September 23, 2011

Gambling machine and brothel bylaw changes

The Council has announced that it is looking at the bylaws covering gambling machines and brothels.

Whatever comes out of these reviews, and any temporary permissions that may be issued, will influence the way the new city and greater Christchurch will operate at both a business and social level.

Gaming Venues Policy 2009

The CCC is considering a review of the bylaws regarding gambling machines, as there have been approaches from those who run these businesses for favourable consideration to allow them to relocate from damaged premises (currently not permitted under council bylaws).
The Council’s Gambling Venues Policy was last reviewed in 2009 and is a “sinking lid” policy.  It aims to progressively reduce the opportunities for class 4 gambling (Gambling on Non-Casino Gaming (pokie) Machines (NCGM) is class 4 gambling) in Christchurch by attrition.  It does not allow any increase in class 4 venues or class 4 machine numbers, except in a specific circumstance where two or more corporate societies are merging.
The Policy was due to be reviewed by the end of August 2012;  however, with the closure of 30 gambling venues and following a discussion with stakeholders, the Council decided to look at the possible actions it might take in relation to the current Gambling Venues Policy.
The September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes affected 36 gambling venues in the city.  Eleven of these were destroyed and 19 badly damaged.  Six venues have reopened. Fourteen separate trusts are involved in the operations of these affected venues.
A number of venue operators had indicated they were interested in relocating, where venues have been seriously damaged by the earthquakes.  The current Policy does not allow venues or machines to be relocated.
The Council has agreed that the current Gambling Venue Policy should remain in place until it has been reviewed. Staff are to review the Policy and report back on the review to Council by the end of February 2012.

Currently there is a sinking lid policy on licensed gambling premises and it is intended this remain until the review is carried out in February 2012. Even with the involuntary reduction of gambling machines as a result of earthquake damage, Christchurch still has the highest number of machines per thousand head of population aged 15 and over.

There is no indication of the extent, if any, of public consultation to be carried out. The media release is here.

Brothels

Brothel bylaws do not provide the CCC with sufficient control over larger brothels that may wish to relocate temporarily or permanently into the suburbs. Consequently the council is looking at a new bylaw to give it more control.
Christchurch City Council is proposing the development of a new bylaw to address any potential issues with the possible re-location of brothels and accompanying signage advertising commercial sexual services.
Developing a bylaw to regulate the location of brothels would provide more controls on where brothels can set up business and help address signage that may cause a nuisance or serious offence to members of the public; or is incompatible with the existing character or use of the area in which the land is situated
Formal consultation with the community is expected to begin in the New Year. See here.
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