The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Electronic Watch on Gaming Machines


The last of 20,000-odd gaming machines at more than 1600 non-casino licensed gambling venues will be connected to the new Electronic Monitoring System on Friday (9 March), 10 days ahead of the statutory deadline.

From 19 March, the Gambling Act requires all such venues to be connected to EMS. It will be illegal gambling to operate gaming machines not connected to EMS.

Internal Affairs Deputy Secretary Regulation and Compliance, Keith Manch says the system enables the Department to track and monitor the operations of gaming machines in pubs and clubs, ensuring the integrity of games, and limiting opportunities for dishonesty. Monitoring systems are already in place in New Zealand’s six casinos.

EMS will monitor:

  • how much money is gambled on each machine
  • what each machine pays out in prizes to gamblers
  • how much money should be banked.

The system will also ensure that all software being used on the machines is identical to the approved versions, and will assist in detecting tampering with a machine or software.

“The system will control the operation of every gaming machine and collect, store and publish information for the Department and gambling machine operators, rather than having to rely on time-consuming, manual collection of data,” Keith Manch said. “If a gaming machine reports an incorrect increment or software malfunctions then the system will automatically disable it.”

The Department of Internal Affairs undertook the management of this complex $35 million project with the passing of the Gambling Act 2003, the purpose of which included ensuring the integrity and fairness of gambling and that money from gambling benefits the community. The first venues were commissioned in May last year and the system has been rolling out across the country since.

The project involved the installation of equipment at the more than 1600 venues nationally, connected to a central system. This system collects, stores and processes information on every gaming machine daily providing web reports for each society on its operations.

The Department will publish data from EMS, including gaming machine proceeds by territorial local authority area, in its quarterly gambling licensing statistics, beginning with the period ending 30 June 2007. The statistics will be issued on 1 August.

The company implementing and operating EMS, Intralot NZ Limited, was responsible for installing the site equipment and central processing system and operating the system and helpdesk. The project also involved development of an interface between Intralot and the Department's systems and significant upgrades to the Department's licensing and financial systems.

Keith Manch said electronic monitoring of gaming machines was standard practice throughout the world because of the huge cash turnover involved.

“EMS will help safeguard money intended for community groups,” Mr Manch said.

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