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Christchurch bar loses pokie licence

Christchurch bar loses pokie licence

A Christchurch bar has to close its gaming machine operation after the Gambling Commission today upheld an Internal Affairs Department decision to cancel the venue licence for repeatedly failing to bank machine proceeds on time.

The Sand Bar and Restaurant of Ferrymead and venue manager Robyn Legge-Hunt suggested their licence could be suspended rather than cancelled but the Commission said there was no reason to think anything would change.

Gambling law requires gaming machine proceeds to be banked within five working days. The Department told the Commission there were 77 incidents since January 2004 of the Sand Bar failing to comply, including dishonoured cheques, banking of insufficient gaming machine proceeds and late banking.

The Department said Sand Bar’s financial position was the underlying cause of many of the late bankings.

“Given the habitual failure to bank gaming machine proceeds on time and the numerous dishonoured cheques, Sand Bar must have relied upon the GMP to conduct its business,” the Department submitted.

The Department and the Lion Foundation, for whom the bar operated 16 machines, had warned the management repeatedly about late banking.

The Commission supported the Department’s view that the bar and key people associated with the operation were unsuitable.

“On all the evidence before the Commission there is no reason to think that anything will change,” the Commission said. “There is no proposal to change the unsuitable key persons. The appellants have been afforded every opportunity to comply with their banking requirements, but have failed consistently to do so. The fact that there were further breaches during the appeal process illustrates how unlikely any change is.”

Internal Affairs Gambling Compliance Director Mike Hill says section 104 of the Gambling Act 2003 and the Gambling (Class 4 Banking) Regulations 2006 require all gaming machine profits from class 4 gambling to be banked into a dedicated account at a registered bank within five working days of the profits being calculated.

“Late banking often leads to theft and is inexcusable in terms of complying with the Act,” he said. “Gaming machines are operated to raise money for the community. When venue managers use gaming machine money to keep their businesses afloat they are borrowing from the community interest free. If managers can’t repay the ‘loan’ to meet their losses they are committing theft.”


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