No Stalin tactics, appointee says

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Regulators should not be too heavy-handed with the industries they oversee, a Dunedin woman recently re-appointed as a gambling commissioner says.

“If you don’t work with industries to manage themselves, then you’re pretty much running like Stalin did,” Donna Matahaere-Atariki said.

The Gambling Commission is a national body established under the Gambling Act 2003.

The other members of the commission are chief commissioner Graeme Reeves and commissioners Wendie Harvey, Russell Bell and Lisa Hansen.

Its functions include hearing casino licensing applications, appeals on licensing and enforcing decisions made in relation to gaming machines and other non-casino gambling activities.

A core purpose of The Gambling Act is to prevent and minimise the harm caused by the activity, including problem gambling.

Under the Act, “harm” is defined broadly to include personal, social and economic harm.

Mrs Matahaere-Atariki said some people were more at risk of becoming problem gamblers than others.

“There are particular individuals that buttons get pushed around this sort of thing. That’s something that I do think the industry needs to be aware of.”

Mrs Matahaere-Atariki’s role includes visiting the country’s six licensed casinos and overseeing the placement of pokie machines in places such as bars.

She noted the machines could be a great source of funding for local charitable causes.