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Gaming venue operator convicted

6 September 2006

Gaming venue operator convicted

The conviction of a gaming venue operator for theft and other offences involving over $138,000 is a powerful reminder of obligations laid down in the Gambling Act 2003, the Department of Internal Affairs Director of Gambling Compliance, Mike Hill, said today.

Judge Josephine Bouchier in the Auckland District Court (5 September) convicted Donald Russell Jones, aged 62, company director of Northcote, Auckland of seven charges involving theft by a person in a special relationship, dishonestly using a document and failing to bank gaming machine profits. The Judge remanded Jones for sentence to 18 October. The theft and dishonesty offences carry up to seven years’ jail and failing to bank, a fine of $5000.

Jones owned “Sophie’s” in Commerce Street Auckland, where Scottwood Trust operated nine gaming machines, raising funds for community purposes. Jones failed to bank the gaming machine profits, as required by the Gambling Act. He told a Department of Internal Affairs gambling inspector that he used the money to support his business and pay his employees.

The Department is seeking a court order for Jones to repay $138,452.76 to Scottwood Trust.

“The Trust and ultimately the community were the victims in this case, losing out on over $138,000 destined to benefit a range of causes,” Mike Hill said.

“The banking charge was the first such prosecution under the Gambling Act 2003 and the convictions for theft by a person in a special relationship reinforces the obligations under the Act between venue operators and societies licensed to operate gaming machines

“Gaming machine proceeds must be banked within five working days of calculation. The venue agreement stated that the venue operator would not do anything that is inconsistent with the ownership rights of Scottwood Trust.”

Mike Hill paid tribute to the co-operation the Department received from Scottwood Trust throughout the investigation.

ENDS

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