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Pokie operations to be suspended

Pokie operations to be suspended

Internal Affairs has decided to suspend a gaming machine operator’s licence for six days for failing to distribute sufficient grant money to the community. But the Constellation Communities Trust, which operates 18 gaming machines at Onehunga’s Trident Tavern and nine at Mairangi Bay’s Punt n Pass Sports Bar, is appealing the suspension to the Gambling Commission and can continue gaming machine operations pending a result.

Gambling Compliance Director, Debbie Despard, says Constellation failed to distribute the legal minimum of 37.12 per cent of gaming machine proceeds to authorised purposes in the financial years 2008-2010.

“As a result, the community missed out on more than $48,500,” Debbie Despard said. “The offending was aggravated by the fact that the trust ignored our warning and unnecessarily spent more than $14,000 in renovations at a bar it wanted as a venue for its gaming machines. It also increased trustees’ annual expenses by almost $13,000 during the period it failed to distribute the minimum required under the Gambling Act 2003.

“Internal Affairs has made it very clear to societies that it expects them to distribute 37.12 per cent of gaming machine proceeds as a first, and not a last priority. Constellation Communities Trust deliberately decided not to do so - and placed remunerating its grants trustees and securing venues as a priority above its obligations to the community under the Act. As such they will now be held accountable for deliberate non-compliance which harms communities.”

ends

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