No changes have been made to Waipā District Council’s Gambling Policy following its three yearly review.

After considering 237 pieces of feedback from the community and having a strong debate, the Strategic Planning and Policy Committee decided on 3 October 2023 to retain the status quo.

Thank you to all who provided feedback. The feedback and report presented to Elected Members can be found here.

The Gambling Policy can be found here.

You can learn more about Class 4 Gambling in our district, including where funding grants go and where to get help with problem gambling, in the Social Impact Assessment of Gambling in the Waipā District.

The gambling policy is required by law to be reviewed every three years so it will be reviewed gain in 2026.

Have your say!

Consultation on the proposed review of the current Gambling Bylaw is now closed. Thank you to everyone who completed a submission form. Submissions are now closed, and we are analysing the data. Submissions will be presented at a council meeting on 3 October.

What happens next?

We’ll be considering all feedback and making a recommendation to Council on the 3 October at the Strategic Planning and Policy Committee on whether or not to change the current Gambling Policy.

You can read the report and watch the meeting livestream on 3 October here.

Mayor and Councillors will consider everyone’s feedback and decide if the current Gambling Policy should stay as it is or if it should be changed.

If elected members decide our current Gambling Policy should change, another (more formal) consultation process will be undertaken. (This consultation is required by law). You will then be able to have your say on a draft version of the Gambling Policy.

If they decide that the Policy should stay as it is, the review is over until the next review in three years’ time.

If you left your email or postal address, we’ll keep you informed around Council’s decisions or next steps.


Waipā District Council, like all councils, is required by law to have a Gambling Policy. In 2019, we reviewed our current policy, which you can read here.

We must review our policy every three years.

It’s that time again and before any formal decisions are made, we’re keen to hear what you think.

The big four

Having a Gambling Policy does not mean Council can control all types of gambling in our district.

By law, we can’t. We can only put controls on some (but not all) facets of gaming machine (pokie) operations.

We’re seeking feedback on FOUR very specific issues. We want your feedback on:

  1. how many pokie machines we should allow in our district.
  2. where pokie machines or TABs can be located in Waipā.
  3. whether or not we should allow pokie machines to be relocated.
  4. whether or not we should allow any new TAB venues.

More about the pokies

In Waipā, pokie machines are usually found in pubs and clubs. These places are called ‘Class 4 venues’.

But the pokie machines are not owned by those pubs or clubs. They’re owned by corporate societies which pay those venues to have their pokie machines available to play. The money that people spend playing pokies goes to these corporate societies. By law, they must use the money for charitable or non-commercial purposes.

For TAB venues, 80 per cent of the money made goes to running race meetings and 20 per cent goes to communities.

For clubs, such as the RSA, the money spent on pokies can be used for club purposes, such as building maintenance.

But for societies, the money spent on their pokie machines goes into a national pool of funds. People or organisations can apply to this pool and receive money in the form of grants. By law, at least 40 per cent of the money spent on pokie machines must be returned as grants. The grants can be for a huge variety of things such as ambulances or sports teams. Generally, but not always, the money spent on pokies in a district will be returned to that same district.

Of the remaining money, 23 per cent goes directly to the government as a tax. A further 1.8 per cent goes to the government and is ring-fenced to help address problem gambling.

What’s left over goes back to societies who own the pokie machines.

In Waipā, there are up to 232 pokie machines across 15 venues. Most are private venues but three venues are clubs and one is owned by the TAB. See the map and list below for more details.

Gambling in Waipa - Pokies location Map

Location of pokie machines in Waipā (Class 4 venues)

Cambridge Cosmopolitan ClubLeamington
Cambridge TABCambridge
Five Stags TavernLeamington
Group One Turf BarCambridge
Joy’s Place/Joy’s Bar & BistroTe Awamutu
Masonic HotelCambridge * (not currently operating)
Oval Sports BarTe Awamutu
Peach & PorkerTe Awamutu
Prince Albert Olde English PubCambridge
Stallions TavernTe Awamutu
Star TavernKihikihi
Waipa Workingmen’s ClubTe Awamutu
Te Awamutu and District Memorial RSATe Awamutu
The Clubhouse Café and Sports BarCambridge
The Firkin Sports BarTe Awamutu

Problem gambling

We know playing the pokies can lead to problem gambling for some people. It’s impossible to say how many people in New Zealand suffer from problem gambling. That’s because for someone to be identified as a ‘problem gambler’ they – or someone close to them – must seek help. Some problem gamblers do not seek help and the impacts on them and their families can be disastrous.

In a report prepared for the Heath Promotion Agency*, it was estimated 22 per cent of people in New Zealand will be affected by problem gambling at some point in their lives. This includes the problem gambler, and the people around them.

You can read a Social Impact Assessment of Gambling in the Waipā district, here.

*Prepared for the Health Promotion Agency by: Thimasarn-Anwar, T., Squire, H., Trowland, H. & Martin, G. (2017). Gambling report: Results from the 2016 Health and Lifestyles Survey. Wellington: Health Promotion Agency Research and Evaluation Unit

Where the money goes

By law, at least 40 per cent of the money spent on all pokie machines must be returned as grants to the community.

In the first half of 2022 (six months only) $4.8 million was spent on pokies in the Waipā district. Just under 10 per cent of that (nearly $483,000) came back to the local community in the form of community grants.

In Waipā community grants went to a range of organisations including youth groups, sports clubs, ecological initiatives…and more.

You can find out more about where pokie money goes at

For more information about gambling in New Zealand go to