$35 million pokie machine security contract signed - Thursday 12th of May 2005

The Department of Internal Affairs has signed a $35 million six-year contract with a gambling technology company to supply an electronic monitoring system for pokie machines in an attempt to safeguard money intended for community groups. There are about 22,000 gaming machines licensed to 626 societies at 1850 pubs and clubs around New Zealand.

They generated a turnover of more than $8.6 billion and a profit of $1.035 billion last year. The department hopes electronic monitoring will greatly increase the accountability of the gambling sector and ensure community groups receive their entitled share of the takings. Societies pay 33 per cent of the money from gaming machines in tax and levies, and must return at least 33 per cent to the community.

Record keeping is currently done manually from meter readings. Internal Affairs deputy secretary Andrew Secker said today incorrect banking and inaccurate record keeping by gambling operators were the most common problems found during department audits. "Electronic monitoring of gaming machines is standard practice throughout the world because of the huge cash turnovers," he said in a statement. "Monitoring systems are already in place in New Zealand's casinos." The contract is the first in the region for Intralot New Zealand; a local subsidiary of a European company operating in 28 countries. Intralot will begin rolling out the system by early 2006 with a March 18, 2007 deadline for all machines to be connected.

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