The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Bookmaker convicted


The first person to be prosecuted by the Department of Internal Affairs for bookmaking under the Gambling Act 2003 was sentenced to 100 hours of community work in the Gisborne District Court today.

Bernadette Antoinette Wawatai, 44, a seasonal worker was convicted on two charges of conducting illegal gambling in the Turanga Hotel Gisborne last year.

Judge John Hole accepted submissions from the Department’s prosecutor, Saar Cohen-Ronen that because of Wawatai’s financial situation a community-based sentence would be more appropriate than a substantial fine. The Act provides for a fine not exceeding $20,000 or up to a year’s prison.

Judge Hole ordered the forfeiture of $1158 seized from the bookmaking operation.

Internal Affairs’ Director of Gambling Compliance, Mike Hill, said the Gambling Act allowed gaming machines on licensed premises to raise money for community purposes and restricted race betting to the TAB.

“Bookmaking effectively diverts money from the community and from the racing industry, which gets much of its financial support through the TAB,” he said.
Media Contact:

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