An RNZ investigation into the New Zealand Lotteries Commission (Lotto NZ) has uncovered that nearly 70% of its shop sales are made in the poorest areas of the country.
The public broadcaster has further reported that Lotto NZ has accepted that it has too many stores in low income areas and will subsequently close some of them down.
The highest selling area for retail sales was Henderson-Massey, rated a ‘decile 8’ community on the Deprivation Index, where ‘decile 10’ areas are the poorest and ‘decile 1’ areas are the richest.
Lotto NZ has set a target of reducing “the ratio of stores per capita in areas of high deprivation to below the national average” by the end of 2022.
Figures compiled by consultancy Synergia for the Gambling Commission also shows Lotto NZ is the only one of the big four gambling sectors to increase its market share over the last decade, going from 18% of gambling spending in 2010 to 28% in 2020.
Lotto NZ CEO, Chris Lyman, admits that the company’s stores have been more highly concentrated in poorer areas.
“If you compared it to a high wealth area, there would be maybe one or two stores more,” he said.
“We’re saying ‘that’s not okay, we should make sure that it is a level playing field and we do not want to be over-representing’.
“Stores are coming out of wealthy suburbs as well. But more stores will be coming out of vulnerable areas.”
Meanwhile, earlier this year, the New Zealand government announced that it would invest NZD $76m to minimise and prevent gambling harm, with the money partly-funded through a levy paid by Lotto NZ.