Electronic Monitoring System (EMS) Project 2023

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Updated 13 December 2023

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The Electronic Monitoring System (EMS) is a tool for monitoring non-casino electronic gaming machines.

The Gambling Act 2003 requires that every non-casino electronic gaming machine (EGM), must be connected to a monitoring system. The EMS provides Te Tari Taiwhenua Internal Affairs and the sector with accurate, detailed and timely information about gaming machine operations as well as assuring that the gambling that is occurring is lawful and fair.

The EMS Project was established to consider ongoing electronic monitoring needs.

Project Update

Updated on 6 May 2024

As part of the work to manage priorities and efficiencies in our new fiscal environment, we have postponed the update announcement for this project that was scheduled for April – May 2024. We will be in touch with all stakeholders when a new project update and timeline is available.

Work completed

Supply Market Engagement

Stakeholder engagement: discovery phase

The project discovery phase has included engaging with internal stakeholders and a variety of external stakeholders including:

  • Australian regulators: to understand the current monitoring regime for non-casino electronic gaming machines in their jurisdiction, and to discuss any lessons learnt they could share from recent EMS upgrades or replacement projects.
  • External gambling technology consultant: a review of gambling technology was commissioned by the DIA Gambling Group, into the use of EMS for non-casino EGMs including different regulatory models, EMS functions, and emerging technologies that may impact EMS or EGMs in upcoming years.
  • Survey to help us understand the sector’s experience of the current EMS.

We also held the following meetings, which were supported by an independent external probity advisor to ensure the engagement process met required probity practice:

  • GMANZ Manufacturers Subcommittee
  • Supply market
  • Current EMS supplier (Intralot NZ)

EMS Survey: 12 September to 4 October 2023

Thank you to those who recently completed our online survey to help us understand your experience of the current EMS. We received over 60 responses to the survey from a range of class 4 operators, venues, harm minimisation providers and industry suppliers.

We asked:

  • What is working well with the current monitoring processes and activities for class 4 electronic gaming machines and the supporting Electronic Monitoring System?
  • What are the key pain points in the current monitoring processes and activities for class 4 electronic gaming machines and the supporting Electronic Monitoring System?
  • What other technology do you currently use to support your gaming operations?

Here’s what we heard:

  • Most respondents thought the current EMS is generally reliable and accurate.
  • Some felt there could be improvements to provide near-real-time information.
  • Others felt the current EMS technology doesn’t deliver a modern user experience.
  • Many respondents found the EMS reporting options provided met their core needs.
  • Some felt the reporting could be more user friendly.
  • Others found the timing of reports didn’t meet the needs of their particular business.
  • Respondents’ feedback on the cost of the daily monitoring fee varied from reasonable to costly. 
  • There is a range of additional technology that is currently used by Class 4 operators and venues to support gaming operations.

Discovery phase: Findings Summary

  • Our current EMS solution was designed in 2005 and implemented in 2007, and apart from the upgrade to QCOM 1.6.3f in 2010 there has been little change to the solution.
  • There have been many technology advances over the last 15 years, in particular; EGMs, EMS solution capability, communication protocols, harm minimisation, networking and infrastructure.
  • Any change to EGM protocols needs to be carefully considered as current EGMs may not be able to be upgraded and may require replacement.
  • The current plastic fibre optic venue cabling connecting EGMs to the site controller had a ten-year anticipated shelf lifespan but has been in use in venues for longer. There is one global supplier remaining for the plastic fibre optic transponders and this has been identified as a supply chain risk for venues.
  • The original EMS implementation took two years to complete, and included the design, build and rollout of the solution. The project received feedback as part of the supply market engagement regarding the effort, cost and time required to implement or transition a different EMS solution.
  • The current EMS contract with Intralot expires on 10 May 2025, with a one year right of renewal remaining.
  • The cost for any changes is a concern for the sector and DIA.
  • The gambling sector would like to be kept engaged and informed throughout the phases of the project.

Comparing EMS in New Zealand with jurisdictions overseas

  • The fundamentals of monitoring EGMs are consistent globally, however various regulators define their roles and responsibilities, and their regulatory focus differently.
  • The EMS site controllers currently in use in New Zealand support QCOM 1.5.5f and QCOM 1.6.3f and do not support other protocols in use in other jurisdictions. 
  • Compared with Australia, New Zealand has low betting limits (max bet of $2.50) and maximum pay-outs per game (e.g. $500 for an individual machine and $1,000 for a linked jackpot win) which impacts EGM game accessibility from other markets.
  • Each state within Australia is unique, with different communication protocols, rules, and regulations, which limits portability of games between each state.
  • In New Zealand the EMS does not centrally monitor jackpot controllers, this is unusual compared to overseas jurisdictions.
  • In a number of overseas jurisdictions, the regulator permits authorised access directly from the site controller for third party systems. In New Zealand, venues use third party technology (“sniffers”) to collect real time EGM data.

What does the EMS do now?

You can find out more about what the EMS does now, including the current minimum technical requirements here.


Project Timeline

The project is currently in discovery.



Mid 2023 Discovery
  • Fact finding and gathering feedback about current operational environment and EMS solution
  • Information from the supply market to understand the range and availability of potential end-to-end solutions to monitor EGMs
Late 2023 Evaluation
  • Analysis of stakeholder and supply market feedback
  • EMS Project future options explored
Early 2024 Recommendations will be made to Te Tari Taiwhenua project leadership for consideration. 
April - May 2024

We have postponed the update announcement for this project that was scheduled for April – May 2024. We will be in touch with all stakeholders when a new project update and timeline is available.

For all communications or enquiries relating to the EMS Project, please contact us at EMSProject@dia.govt.nz