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Guilty plea over gaming machine grants

Media Release
21 December 2010

Guilty plea over gaming machine grants

An Invercargill man has been discharged without conviction over his involvement in grants to Rugby Southland from the Lion Foundation which operates gaming machines at the Strathern Inn, Invercargill.

The man, whose name was suppressed, pleaded guilty in the Invercargill District Court today to two charges under section113 of the Gambling Act which is aimed at preventing conflicts of interest in the gaming machine grants process.

The Department of Internal Affairs told the court the defendant was an employee of Southland Rugby and also took an active part in the financial management of the Strathern Inn where Lion operated gaming machines. This made him a ‘key person’ under the Gambling Act preventing his involvement in certain activities.

In mid 2007 Lion Foundation took over the operation of gaming machines at the Strathern Inn, which had been purchased by rugby interests, and grants from Lion to Southland Rugby increased markedly

Internal Affairs Gambling Compliance Director, Mike Hill, said s113 of the Act ensures that the grants process is transparent and fair and is aimed at discouraging and preventing persons involved with a venue influencing the grant distribution process.

“Community groups should expect to receive fair and equal consideration when they apply for funding,” Mike Hill said. “Owning or controlling a pub with gaming machines does not entitle any group to preferential treatment.”

Charges against the Lion Foundation of knowingly allowing a key person to contravene s113 will be heard in the North Shore District Court in February.

ENDS

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