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Publican fined for providing credit to gambler

Publican fined for providing credit to gambler

A Kaiapoi publican today became the first person to be convicted under the Gambling Act 2003 for providing credit to a gambler.

In the Christchurch District Court, Stewart (Stu) Ross Turner, 46, of Redcliffs, manager of The Crossing on Kaiapoi tavern was fined a total of $2100 on three charges of providing credit to a patron playing the gaming machines plus $130 costs.

The prohibition on credit is a harm prevention measure and Mr Turner told an Internal Affairs Department gambling inspector he knew that requesting money is one of the signs of a problem gambler and that the patron was gambling with the credit. But he had spoken to him about his gambling and always thought the patron was financially sound. Mr Turner provided a total of $3500 in credit, of which $2500 was repaid by the gambler's father and $1000 by the gambler.

The tavern's gaming machines are operated for the Caversham Foundation and defence lawyer, James Rapley, argued that Mr Turner should be discharged without conviction because the Department was proposing to suspend the Foundation's venue licence. He also pointed to a similar case in 2005, soon after the Gambling Act took effect, in which the venue manager was discharged without conviction on payment of $2500 to the Problem Gambling Foundation.

Internal Affairs Gambling Compliance Director, Mike Hill, said the Department investigated the Kaiapoi case after a complaint to the Problem Gambling Foundation.

"Gambling operators are required to monitor patrons for potential problem gamblers," Mike Hill said. "Staff are trained to recognise symptoms and must offer problem gambling information. This publican flew directly in the face of his responsibilities under the Gambling Act.

"Attempts to borrow money to support gambling is one of the key tell-tale signs of problem gambling. Other indications include repeated visits to money machines, disorderly or agitated behaviour and increased gambling sessions. One of the most common indicators is notification from a relation, friend or family member of the patron."

ENDS

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