The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation

 

Pokies shut down for licence breaches


16/08/2007

A Dunedin bar has been forced to shut its pokie machines for five days because it failed to assist a problem gambler and breached other licence conditions.

The Fever Club, formerly Champions Bar, in George Street runs 16 machines for The Bendigo Valley Sports and Charity Foundation Trust. The suspension ended at midnight last night and would have seen a loss in gaming machine expenditure of several thousand dollars.

The Department of Internal Affairs suspended the licence because the venue manager refused to issue an exclusion order to a self-identified problem gambler and also ignored a gambling inspector’s request to do so. He also failed to:

  • Maintain a register of people with access to gambling equipment keys
  • Record player disputes and machine malfunctions
  • Close off external access to the gambling area.

The Foundation chose not to appeal the Department’s decision to the Gambling Commission and the suspension took effect from midnight on August 10.

Internal Affairs’ Director of Gambling Compliance Mike Hill says the Department does not take such action lightly because ultimately the community loses out on funding from gaming machine proceeds.

“But there is an obligation on venues and societies to ensure the rules are observed, particularly the harm minimisation requirements aimed at assisting problem gamblers,” Mike Hill said.

“We have been educating venues and societies about their responsibilities to prevent and minimise harm since the Gambling Act 2003 took effect in July 2004. But some are not getting the message.

“We are investigating a number of venues for not complying with the self-exclusion regime after repeated reminders about what the Gambling Act requires.

“Section 310 of the Gambling Act states that a self-exclusion order must be issued when requested by anyone who identifies themself as a problem gambler. And Section 312 makes it an offence to knowingly fail to issue an exclusion order if requested. This offence carries a maximum fine of $10,000.”


Media Contact:

Trevor Henry, communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 7211; cell 0275 843 679