Class 4 Gambling is defined by DIA as: 

Any activity that involves the use of a gaming machine outside a casino. May be run only by a corporate society and only to raise money for authorised purposes. Authorised purposes include charities, community organisations, arts, cultural, clubs, sports, and health. 

Class 4 Gaming Machines, or pokies, are administered by The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) a New Zealand Government Department. DIA is responsible for ensuring that gaming machines are operated within the laws. 

Corporate societies are licensed by Internal Affairs to operate pokie machines in clubs or in commercial venues (pubs and bars). Gambling on gaming machines hosted in pubs, hotels and clubs is referred to as Class 4 gambling.

Pokie system at a glance

1. The New Zealand gambling model returns millions of dollars to our community 

2. Corporate societies own pokie machines

3. Venues such as pubs are paid by societies to host their machines

4. Payments to venues for machines are controlled and limited

5. Venues return pokie proceeds to corporate societies

6. Community groups can apply to corporate societies for grant funding

7. Corporate societies distribute proceeds to community groups

Corporate Societies

Corporate societies are also called gaming machine societies, gaming societies or Class 4 societies, and are sometimes referred to as Trusts or pokie trusts. To be eligible for a licence under the Act, they must be entirely non-commercial and be established to raise funds for community or “authorised” purposes. The corporate societies must comply with a range of regulatory requirements.

There are two types of society:

  • Those that apply funds to their own purposes (e.g. clubs)
  • Those that make grants to other bodies for community purposes.

Not all the money lost by gamblers on pokies is returned to the community.


Pubs and bars that have gaming machines are termed venues. The businesses operating the venues are known as venue operators, and the person responsible for the gaming machine operation is known as the venue manager.

Venue operators select which society they want to work with based on:

  • Alignment with good causes (authorised purpose)
  • Good service
  • Reputation as an ethical and fair operator

Once selected, the venue hosts the gaming machines of the society it has entered into agreement with.

National List of Licenced Societies:

Air Rescue Services LtdBlue Waters Community TrustBluesky Community Trust LtdCert Your Local Gaming Trust Ltd
Constellation Community Trust LtdFirst Light Community Foundation LtdFour Winds Foundation LtdGrassroots Trust Ltd
Ilt FoundationGrassroots Trust Central LtdMainland Foundation LtdMilestone Foundation
New Zealand Community TrustOne FoundationPelorus TrustPub Charity Ltd
Redwood Trust IncThe Akarana Community Trust LtdThe Bendigo Valley Sports And Charity FoundationThe Lion Foundation (2008)
The North And South Trust LimitedThe Pegasus Sports Foundation LtdThe Southern TrustThe Trusts Community Foundation Ltd
Trillian TrustTrust Aoraki LtdTrust House FoundationYouthtown Incorporated
Clubs New ZealandThe Dragon Community TrustOxford Sports Trust

Venue Referral Form

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