Problem gambling affects fewer people in Queenstown than the rest of the country because of the "white" nature of its community, a council official says.

Roger Taylor, who heads a Queenstown Lakes District Council team formed to formulate new council gaming policies, was speaking at a public meeting last week. In Queenstown, problem gambling was less than the national average, he said.

"The white nature of our community, compared to the large Maori and Polynesian populations in the North Island, has shown there is a higher vulnerability to gambling up there."

Even with the high exposure of more than the national average of casinos per head of population (there are two casinos) in the small resort town, there still was not a huge problem in the region, he said.

But Queenstown gambling addiction counsellors Rose Fraser (Salvation Army) and Faye York (community mental health nurse) said there was "definitely" a problem with gambling addiction in Queenstown.

"We're actually not seeing the full extent of it right now but we will in the future and it's nothing to do with whether you're white or not," Ms Fraser said. They were "baby-boomers" mostly and addicted to playing the pokies, she said.

"It not only affects their families, their children, it's affecting their work. They're thinking about playing the pokies all day at work ... And when they go to the pub intending just to play $20 worth it never stops there. It'll keep going, rent and all," she said.

A draft proposal of the council's new gaming policy, which will regulate the growth and location of non-casino poker machines and TAB gambling, is due to be presented at a full council meeting this Friday.

Queenstown has the highest number of gambling machines to population in New Zealand with a ratio of 1:77. The Sky Alpine Casino has 86 pokie machines and the Wharf Casino, 73.

- NZPA