Can You Play Pokies Where You Work?


Playing pokies at work, especially in places like pubs or clubs, is becoming a hot topic. It’s about employees gambling while they’re on the job. This issue is getting a lot of attention because it could affect both the people doing it and the workplace. So, let’s dive into a big question many ask: Can I play Pokies where I Work?

In New Zealand, the legal and regulatory framework governing gambling is outlined in the Gambling Act 2003. This comprehensive legislation provides the foundation for regulating all forms of gambling activities within the country.

The act sets out rules and regulations for various aspects of gambling, including licensing, operation, and consumer protection.

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) plays a crucial role in overseeing and enforcing these regulations. They are responsible for issuing licenses to gambling operators, ensuring compliance with the law, and implementing harm prevention measures.

New Zealand’s gambling regulations cover a wide range of activities, from traditional forms like casino gambling and lotteries to newer forms such as online gambling. The government is committed to maintaining a fair and safe gambling environment for consumers and operators.

For individuals and businesses involved in the gambling industry, adhering to these regulations is essential to ensure legal and responsible participation in the industry. Additionally, the New Zealand Police and other relevant authorities work together to enforce these rules and combat illegal gambling activities.

Understanding these regulations is crucial for anyone interested in gambling in New Zealand, whether as a player or an operator, to ensure that they comply with the country’s legal framework.

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Policies of Workplace Gambling

Pubs often have specific policies to manage gambling in the workplace and promote responsible behaviour among their employees. These policies typically include:

  1. Prohibition During Working Hours: Employees are generally prohibited from engaging in gambling activities during their working hours. This ensures that they remain focused on their job responsibilities.
  2. Designated Areas: If gambling is allowed on the premises, there are usually designated areas where employees can participate during their breaks or off-duty hours.
  3. Limitations on Participation: Some policies may limit the amount of money employees can wager or the frequency of their participation to prevent excessive gambling.
  4. Awareness and Training: Pubs may provide training and awareness programs to educate employees about responsible gambling practices and the potential risks of addiction.
  5. Reporting Mechanisms: Policies often include procedures for reporting gambling-related concerns or potential issues among employees.
  6. Support Services: Pub owners may offer support services or resources for employees struggling with gambling problems. These services can include access to counselling or helplines.
  7. Consequences: The policies may outline the consequences of violating gambling rules, ranging from warnings to disciplinary actions.
  8. Legal Compliance: Pubs must ensure their policies align with local laws and regulations regarding gambling in licensed establishments.

These policies aim to balance providing entertainment options for employees and ensuring a productive and responsible work environment in the pub.

Note – Every pub has different policies for their employees regarding gambling at their workplace. These policies are made clear while joining any pub or casino in New Zealand.

Employee Experiences

Everyone might be curious about How Employees Feel About Gambling at Work.

People who work in jobs where gambling is involved, like the TAB supervisor, can also have problems with gambling.

The TAB supervisor had special training to understand gambling issues better.

This training made her realize she had a gambling problem. But even though she knew it was a problem, she kept gambling because it helped her deal with the stress of her job. Eventually, she felt the only way to stop was to quit her job.

Employees say that the rules about gambling at their workplaces can have a big impact on how much they gamble.

For example, they were allowed to gamble in one hotel, and they did it more often. But in their current workplace, gambling is not permitted, so they don’t gamble as much. This shows that the rules set by the company can make a big difference in how employees behave when it comes to gambling.

Also, employees notice what their managers do. Some managers gamble themselves after work, which can influence employees to do the same. When employees see their managers gambling, they might think it’s okay to do it, too, especially when they want to relax or have fun outside of work.

In summary, gambling issues in the workplace affect not only regular employees but also managers and supervisors. Company rules and managers’ behaviour can make gambling more common or discourage it among employees.

Understanding these factors is essential to creating a work environment that helps employees deal with gambling problems.

Read: Why is Pokies Usage Decreasing in New Zealand?

Workplace Influence of Gambling


Working in a gaming venue can indeed influence employees’ gambling behaviour. Here are some key workplace influences on gambling behaviour, along with responsible gambling considerations:

  1. Exposure to Gambling: Employees in gaming venues are exposed to gambling activities daily. This constant exposure can normalize gambling behaviour and increase the likelihood of employees engaging in it.
  2. Social Pressure: In such environments, there may be social pressure to participate in gambling activities with colleagues or customers. This peer pressure can influence employees to gamble, even if they have no prior inclination.
  3. Accessibility: Gaming venue employees have easy access to gambling facilities. The convenience factor can lead to impulsive gambling behaviours, especially during breaks or after work.
  4. Desensitization: Constant exposure to gambling can desensitize employees to the risks associated with it. They may underestimate the potential harm, leading to irresponsible gambling.
  5. Financial Impact: Wins and losses in gambling can have a significant financial impact. Employees may chase losses, hoping to recover their money, which can spiral into problem gambling.

Responsible gambling practices should be actively promoted in gaming venues. This includes providing information on the risks, offering support for those with gambling problems, and implementing policies to prevent excessive gambling among employees.

Education and awareness programs can help mitigate the negative workplace influences on employees’ gambling behaviour, ensuring a safer and healthier work environment.

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Employee Gambling Problems in New Zealand

The development of gambling problems among employees working in various gambling-related establishments is a matter of concern across New Zealand.

Close Interaction with Gamblers

One significant finding is the role of close interaction with gamblers in intensifying gambling problems. Employees in New Zealand’s gaming venues often have direct contact with patrons actively engaged in gambling activities.

This proximity can increase the temptation and desire to participate in gambling themselves, ultimately contributing to the development of gambling issues.

Frequent Exposure to Gambling

Employees in these settings are exposed to gambling activities frequently. This constant exposure can desensitize individuals to the risks associated with gambling and make it appear as a routine part of their lives.

Over time, this exposure can lead to a normalization of gambling behaviour among employees.

Influence of Fellow Employees

Peer influence plays a significant role in shaping employees’ gambling habits. When coworkers engage in gambling, it can create a sense of social pressure to participate.

Employees may feel compelled to join in gambling activities to fit in with their colleagues, further exacerbating their gambling problems.

Influence of Management

The behaviour and attitudes of management can also impact employees’ gambling habits. If managers engage in gambling or endorse it as a form of recreation, it can send a message to staff that gambling is acceptable.

This can contribute to a culture where gambling is normalized within the workplace.

Workplace Stress and Hours

Workplace stress and long hours can lead employees to turn to gambling as a coping mechanism. The availability of gambling within the workplace provides an easy outlet for stress relief, which can lead to an escalation of gambling problems.

Exposure to Gambling Marketing and Promotions

Employees in gaming venues in New Zealand are often exposed to gambling marketing and promotions regularly. This exposure can make gambling appear enticing and can increase the likelihood of employees participating in gambling activities.

Ineffectiveness of Responsible Gambling Measures

The study also found that responsible gambling training and venue-based measures did not effectively protect these employees from developing gambling problems.

This suggests that current interventions may need to be reevaluated and adjusted to address the unique challenges posed by the gambling industry work environment in New Zealand.

This research underscores the intricate relationship between workplace influences and employee gambling problems within New Zealand’s gambling industry.

Understanding these influences is crucial for identifying appropriate interventions to support employees in managing and preventing gambling issues in the workplace.

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Whether one can play pokies at their workplace is a complex and multifaceted issue that involves legal, ethical, and practical considerations. While some workplaces may permit limited recreational activities during break times, respecting company policies, maintaining productivity, and upholding ethical standards are crucial.

Furthermore, the legality of gambling at work varies by jurisdiction, and employees should be aware of the potential legal consequences.

Ultimately, the key lies in balancing responsible behaviour and respecting workplace rules, ensuring our commitments remain the top priority.


Q. Is it legal to play pokies at my workplace in New Zealand?

Answer: The legality of playing pokies at your workplace can vary depending on local regulations and your specific workplace policies. It’s essential to check with your employer and understand the legal framework in your area.

Q. Can my employer restrict or allow pokies at the workplace?

Answer: Yes, employers have the authority to set policies regarding gambling activities on their premises. Some workplaces may have rules against gambling, while others may permit it. Being aware of and adhering to your employer’s policies is crucial.

Q. What are the consequences of playing pokies at work without permission?

Answer: Playing pokies at work without permission can result in disciplinary actions, including warnings, suspension, or termination, depending on your workplace’s policies. Additionally, it may have legal consequences if it violates local regulations.

Q. How can I ensure responsible gambling if I choose to play pokies at work?

Answer: To gamble responsibly at work, limit your gambling expenditure and time spent playing. Be aware of signs of problem gambling and seek help if you believe you’re developing an issue. Utilize self-exclusion options if available.

Q. Are there alternatives to playing pokies at work during breaks?

Answer: Yes, there are various alternatives to playing pokies at work, such as engaging in non-gambling activities, socializing with colleagues, reading, or enjoying a hobby during breaks.

Q. Where can I find support and resources for gambling-related issues?

Answer: If you or someone you know is struggling with gambling-related issues, numerous support services and resources are available in New Zealand.

Consider reaching out to organizations like the Gambling Helpline or seeking help from a counsellor or therapist with expertise in gambling addiction.

Q. Can You Play Pokies Where You Work?

Answer: Playing pokies at your workplace depends on your employer’s policies and local regulations. Some workplaces may permit it, while others may prohibit gambling activities.

Ensure you know your workplace’s rules and adhere to responsible gambling practices if allowed. Always prioritize your professional responsibilities and well-being.

Mamta Sharma

Mamta is a spirited writer hailing from Wellington, bringing a youthful zest to the world of digital content. Merging her love for narrative with an eye for detail, Ella crafts stories that resonate and engage the modern reader.