A push by the TAB for more poker machine venues and to
capture grant money for the racing industry, has prompted
concerns being raised to the Department of Internal Affairs.
Yesterday, Department of Internal Affairs regulatory gambling
services general manager Maarten Quivooy confirmed the
department was ''assessing the issues'' following concerns
being raised by other poker machine trusts.
Those claims, which have been relayed to the Otago Daily
Times from several gaming trusts, allege the TAB had made a
recent push to sublet large pokie venues from pubs.
Mr Quivooy confirmed the department had asked the TAB ''to
provide information to enable us to assess its approach and
determine its appropriateness''.
The TAB, via the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) is permitted
to operate pokies under the Gambling Act 2003. As a result of
that legislation the racing sector could receive poker
machine grants as an ''authorised purpose'', including
promoting, controlling and conducting race meetings,
including the payment of stakes.
''The department appreciates that there will be a range of
community views on whether racing (or any other authorised
purpose) is an appropriate recipient of gaming machine
funding,'' Mr Quivooy said.
In the NZRB Statement of Intent 2013-16 chairwoman Glenda
Hughes said: ''We have set the primary strategic goal of
increasing distribution to the three racing codes by growing
profit, including gaming, to between $160 million and $180
million annually by 2018''.
Mike Wemyss, of the NZRB, said the TAB had been involved with
poker machines for a decade, initially through other trusts,
until 2011 when it successfully applied to the Department of
Internal Affairs to become a pokie operator.
Conditions meant gaming machines could only be in venues
where the TAB owned or leased the sitesThe TAB operated 32
poker machine sites, including five in the South Island,
around the country, and he confirmed two applications were
before the Department of Internal Affairs for poker machine
venues in Gisborne and Lower Hutt.
''The TAB retail plan has a number of other potential
movements that we are looking at as well.''
Potentially the TAB could add around six sites each year, but
he cautioned the TAB was only a small player with 341
machines of the 17,500 in the country.
Since 2011 funds coming from TAB gaming machines were
distributed to predominantly racing (at least 80%), and the
remainder to amateur sport.
He said trusts gave more money to the racing industry than
the TAB, and ''gaming is a small part of our TAB operation
and we are a large corporate which turns over close to $2
billion in sales each year''.
For the period between August 8, 2011-July 31, 2012 the
Racing Board returned grants totalling $3,781,668, of which
$3,543,245 went to racing.