According to new data from the Department of Internal Affairs, each adult New Zealander spent $204 on pokies last year, with the majority of it occurring in the last quarter of the year.
The quarterly expenditure totaled $252M, the greatest since record-keeping began sometime in 2007, spread over 14,781 gaming machines across the country.
The outcomes, according to Chris Thornborough, director of gaming for the Department of Internal Affairs, were surprising.
"We have been following pokie earnings throughout the pandemic and anticipated there would be an effect, but the recuperation after the gaming limitations were lifted shocked us. We did not expect the rebound to be as strong as it was in the fourth quarter of 2018 "According to Thornborough.
Generally, gaming earnings dropped $128 million for the year, but that was due to Covid-19's suspension of entry to casinos, clubhouses, and bars. The covid-19 shock as you must have known isn't limited to just the casino industry, it affected several sectors of the economy.
Because of widespread shutdowns, online betting for Lotto has increased and has become a game-changer. In 2020, New Zealanders paid a whopping $631 million on Lotto tickets, up to thirteen percent from the previous year.
Peter Dengate Thrush, the Gaming Machine Association's chairman, said gambling machines' quick recovery was a fragment of a growing pattern in New Zealand's economy.
"New Zealand as a whole hasn't been hit as hard by the Covid debacle as we would have expected, and we're witnessing economic recovery across the board. If you check the gross domestic product numbers for the previous year - I was looking at them earlier - I believe we are seeing a fourteen percent comeback in commodities in the fourth quarter "Thrush said.
"The economy as a whole hasn't fared as terribly as we would have in the event of a pandemic."
According to the law, forty percent of the earnings from poker machines must be dispersed as grants.
The surge in legit online casinos in New Zealand, according to Thrush, is an essential benefit for New Zealand towns.
"We invested $300M worth of funding into the local area, preserving sport, cultural, and art events running all over the nation, so it's a huge undertaking and, you see, it's a huge benefit to New Zealand."
The surge, according to Martin Cheer, chief executive of the Pub Charity, was unforeseen.
"There is a lot of individuals who are trapped in, and the population of New Zealand is steadily growing with people returning and having nowhere to invest their cash, so it will appear in discretionary and retail spending, among which slots are a component."
He pointed out that the rise in Lotto was a fragment of a growing pattern of internet betting, which he believes is considerably more harmful to populations.
"It's unavoidable that many operations, like gambling, will migrate to the internet, but regrettably, much of it will be overseas and uncontrolled. It cannot be taxed because it does not generate any profits for the public. As a result, the gambling industry is experiencing an extremely disruptive and damaging trend."
Because of the danger of dependency and damage, the federal government has classified slots as level 4, which is the highest class.
The latest statistics, according to Paula Snowden, CEO of the Problem Gambling Foundation, are alarming but not unexpected
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