The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation

 

Pokie thief jailed


19 August 2010

A former North Shore bar owner was jailed for 21 months when he appeared for sentence in the Oamaru District Court yesterday over the loss of almost $120,000 of pokie money.

Shane Norton, 47, now lives at Shingle Creek in Otago but last November pleaded guilty in the North Shore District Court to six charges of theft by a person in a special relationship by failing to account for $118,935.48 of gaming machine profit owed to the Pelorus Trust.

Norton was the venue operator of two North Shore bars, Pat’s Garage, Takapuna and Brownsy Sports Bar, Browns Bay. He should have banked the gaming machine money to the Pelorus Trust account but used it to prop up his businesses when they got into financial difficulty.

The Department says the community missed out on at least $44,000 in grants, as a result. Judge Mary O’Dwyer ordered Norton to pay that amount in reparation and said he could seek home detention if suitable accommodation can be found.

Internal Affairs Director of Gambling Compliance, Mike Hill said gaming machine money does not belong to a venue but must be banked into the account of a gaming trust which is then responsible for distributing funds to the community.

“The community must be the ultimate beneficiary of gaming machine proceeds as the Gambling Act makes clear,” he said. “This case underlines to venues that gaming machine proceeds do not belong to them but are held in trust. Not dealing with the funds as the law requires deprives the community of money and constitutes theft.”

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