Gaming machine trust loses licence
Wed, 04 Jul 2012 12:26p.m.
Internal Affairs says it has cancelled the licence of a multi-million dollar Blenheim-based gaming machine trust, alleging it supplied false information about trotting club loans to set itself up.
Bluegrass Trust, which operates 117 gaming machines in seven bars in Auckland, Lower Hutt, Blenheim, Nelson and Christchurch, denies the allegations.
Today, Internal Affairs secretary Colin MacDonald said he had cancelled the trust's licence to run machines in pubs because "he cannot be satisfied the gaming machine society is meeting its obligations under the Gambling Act".
Internal Affairs had investigated Bluegrass when it renewed its licence in 2010 and Mr MacDonald said the trust had allegedly supplied false or misleading information about three trotting club loans.
"These loans were used to establish Bluegrass Trust."
There were also concerns "a key person" was unsuitable because of his previous poor compliance with the Gambling Act.
Mr MacDonald said he considered Bluegrass had breached the Act by knowingly receiving funds, with conditions attached, from potential grant recipients.
However, Bluegrass is allowed to continue operating its machines while the licence cancellation is appealed.
Bluegrass chairman Pat O'Brien, who is also chairman of Harness Racing NZ, said he knew nothing of the licence cancellation.
He rejected the allegations and he told NZ Newswire that Bluegrass would be contacting its lawyer.
According to its website, Bluegrass has assets of $1.6 million and in the year to March took about $7m in gaming machine proceeds.
After taking out costs of about $3.4m it donated nearly $3m to mainly racing and trotting clubs, as well as sports clubs and others, in the year.
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