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Electronic monitoring of gaming machines under way

13 July 2006

Electronic monitoring of gaming machines under way

Work begins in earnest on Monday (July 17) to connect more than 20,000 gaming machines in some 1600 pubs and clubs to an electronic monitoring system (EMS). This follows a successful pilot operation testing the system at 32 venues around the country. All venues must be connected to EMS on a date prior to March 18 2007.

The system will enable the Department of Internal Affairs to track and monitor the operations of gaming machines, ensuring the integrity of games, and limiting opportunities for crime and dishonesty.

The Department’s Director of Gambling Compliance, Mike Hill says electronic monitoring of gaming machines is standard practice throughout the world because of the huge cash turnovers involved. Monitoring systems are already in place in New Zealand’s six casinos and EMS will now be used in pubs and clubs.

“EMS will help safeguard money intended for community groups,” Mr Hill said.

Currently pubs and clubs keep records manually. Inaccurate record keeping and incorrect banking are the most common problems found during audits carried out by the Department’s Gambling Inspectors.

EMS will monitor:

- how much money is gambled on each machine
- what each machine pays out in prizes to gamblers
- how much money should be banked.

The system will also ensure that all software being used on the machines is identical to the approved versions, and will assist in detecting software failures and tampering with a machine or software.

Gaming machines at every venue will be connected to a site controller by a fibre optic loop. The site controller will gather data from each gaming machine. Each day a snapshot of the accumulated data is transmitted to the EMS host system in Wellington enabling detailed reports to be produced.

A helpdesk will be available to operators 24 hours day, seven days a week and information relevant to the operational needs of societies and venues will be available on the EMS website at www.ems.govt.nz

The Minister of Internal Affairs, Rick Barker, was briefed on the system at the Wellington headquarters of INTRALOT New Zealand Limited, the company contracted to provide the EMS host system.

ENDS


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