Some Whanganui residents have expressed concerns about the relocation of 18 pokie machines if council is genuine in applying the sinking lid policy.

The gaming machines were approved to operate at The Barracks Sports Bar, in a decision made by council in May.

Council compliance operations manager Warrick Zander said the approval was only to move the machines.

"The relocation of gambling machines is permitted within council's Gambling Venue Policy 2018, and conditions of relocation within the policy were met by the applicant.


"The application is for relocation only and not an increase in gaming machines."

The policy document states council will consider relocation of class four venues if the premises cannot continue operating at an existing site, and lists examples such as expiration of lease, site redevelopment, or if the site is unable to operate due to natural disaster or fire damage.

Mayor Hamish McDouall said at the time the policy was being debated there was a venue that had succumbed to fire, but that the business owner had moved to another building and continued to successfully run the business.

"That's a classic example if you kept gaming machines to an address you'd have unintended consequences where a good operator might be unable to shift and continue operating after something out of their control."

Whanganui has 204 electronic gaming machines, down from 257 in 2013 and 225 in 2017.

The Mayor said overall he was pleased to see the number of gaming machines in the district drop.

"I'm satisfied because I know the number of gaming machines are going down in Whanganui so the sinking lid is working."

The policy is due to be reviewed in November 2020.