New Zealand Gambling Watchdog investigates the pokie industry

Originally Posted on Sunday Jan 10 12:21:00 GMT 2010

The New Zealand Government Watchdog is looking into a possible crackdown on the pokie industry.  There is evidence that some organisations are taking cuts from the profits which should be going to community groups.

There seems to be some good reasons to look more deeply into expense claims, as many operators are making exaggerated claims for things like staff costs and utilities.

On January 11 the New Zealand Community Trust (NZCT) will be compelled to turn off its pokie machines for a day. It is estimated that this will cost them $290,000 in lost revenue.  The penalty is in response to questionable expense claims.

The law states that gaming machines can only be run by non-commercial organisations with some of the profits going to community groups.

Around $1.3 billion is gambled on gaming machines each year.  The pubs and clubs that run the pokies are allowed to claim reasonable expenses in relation to their running costs.

NZCT made $103 million from pokie machines last year, with 39% of the proceeds going to community groups.

As the inflated expense claims seem to be fairly widespread there will be a more extensive surveillance of operators in 2010 to try to put a stop to operators using gambling money for personal gain by inflating expense claims.

Online casinos in New Zealand are not affected by these crackdowns.

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