The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Former bar manager fined for pokie money theft

11 September 2013

The former manager of a Whangarei bar has been convicted for stealing gaming machine money.

Michael William Laiman, 53, barman of Whangarei, yesterday pleaded not guilty in the Whangarei District Court to one charge of theft by a person in a special relationship. Judge John McDonald found the case proved and fined him $1000.

The Department of Internal Affairs said Laiman was manager of the Legends Sports Bar in April 2012, and should have banked the week’s gaming machine proceeds of $3433.22 into the Lion Foundation’s bank account shortly before the business was placed in voluntary liquidation. He told a gambling inspector he had used the money to pay bills.

Internal Affairs’ Gambling Compliance Director, Debbie Despard, said proceeds from gaming machines do not belong to the venues or gambling trusts that operate the machines.

“They hold the money in trust for distribution to the community. Stealing pokie money is actually taking money away from the organisations that support our communities. We monitor all gaming machines in pubs and clubs to ensure that takings are properly accounted for and we are pleased that we have been able to hold this person accountable under the law,” Debbie Despard said.

Media contact:

Trevor Henry, senior communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 7211; cell 021 245 8642