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Pokie money theft from Auckland hotel brings conviction

Pokie money theft from Auckland hotel brings conviction

A former manager of Auckland’s Albion Hotel was convicted on Friday 7 February 2014 of stealing more than $35 000 of gaming machine money.

A jury at Auckland District Court heard how Michael Anthony McGurk, 54, of Takapuna stole the money from the Pacific Sports and Community Trust in November 2009 when he was manager of Auckland’s Albion Hotel. The Trust, subsequently known as the Nautilus Foundation, operated gaming machines in the Albion and the theft came to light after receivers took control of the business.

The Department of Internal Affairs, which brought the prosecution, said Mr McGurk used the pokie money to pay for hotel trading expenses instead of banking it in the trust’s account within five days of calculation as required by gambling law. The Albion also had a history of late banking and Mr McGurk incurred a penalty of $2500 for infringing that requirement between July 2008 and July 2009.

Gambling Compliance Director Debbie Despard said gaming machine proceeds do not belong to the venues or gambling trusts that own the machines.

“They hold the money in trust for distribution to the community. Stealing pokie money is actually taking money away from the organisations that support our communities. We monitor all gaming machines in pubs and clubs to ensure that takings are properly accounted for and we are pleased that we have been able to hold this person accountable under the law.”

Mr McGurk will be sentenced on 19 March 2014.


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