Operators said they raised the issue with the department many times, but it was never a priority.
"It's about providing our customers with choice and providing them with the ability to take control of their money."
The spend on pokies last year was the equivalent of every adult spending $204.
New Zealanders spent quarter of a billion dollars on gambling in the final quarter of 2020.
The Government is working on policy for the unregulated online sector.
"It's clear that the people who are losing money on pokies would spend it elsewhere in the economy."
Wellington has already lost 35 of its 75 pokie venues since 2004.