In this Gambits:

  • Change of Gambling Compliance Group address and Christmas closure
  • EMS website passwords must be updated every 90 days
  • Venues must not be used mainly for operating gaming machines
  • Reminder of banking dates over the Christmas holidays

Change of Gambling Compliance Group address and Christmas closure

The Department will be permanently vacating its offices at 147 Lambton Quay, Wellington, on 22 December. From 8 January Gambling Compliance staff will begin working in:

45 Pipitea Street, Thorndon, Wellington, 6011

Gaming machine amendment applications must be submitted by 15 December in order to be processed before the Department closes on 22 December.

Any applications for licence surrender and transfer of venues will be processed from 8 January when Gambling Compliance reopens after the holidays.

EMS website passwords must be updated every 90 days

In accordance with Government information security standards the Department has identified the need for password strengthening as part of its regular security review activities. To ensure the privacy and integrity of EMS data, class 4 login passwords for the Electronic Messaging System (EMS) website will expire after 90 days from February 2018. This means any class 4 user logging into EMS will need to create a new password, at least every 90 days, from this point on.

Please note:

  • New passwords must be at least 10 characters in length
  • The previous eight passwords cannot be reused
  • Accounts will be locked out after three incorrect attempts.

Venues must not be used mainly for operating gaming machines

It is a requirement for a class 4 licence that the Secretary be satisfied that a venue is not “used mainly” for operating gaming machines (Section 67(1)(k) Gambling Act 2003). 

The Department has seen increased interest from the public and territorial authorities about whether venues are being used mainly for operating gaming machines.  It is a fundamental requirement for a venue licence that this is not the case.

Accordingly, we will be putting more emphasis on ensuring we remain satisfied that venues are meeting this requirement.  This obligation is summarised below to assist:

The Gambling Commission has held that “used mainly” addresses actual activity. That is what actually occurs in a venue, not what could potentially occur. The Commission noted that the assessment is to be made of the whole of the class 4 venue, and not just the gaming area. They also commented that the “use” referred to in section 67(1)(k) is the use the public makes of the venue, not the use made by the venue operator.

In determining whether a venue is “used mainly” for operating gaming machines, we will consider a range of factors including the following:

  • What proportion of the public floor space (not including toilets, kitchens and other staff-only areas) is given to the operation of gaming machines.
  • Whether other activities are available at the venue.
  • Whether the other activities are well stocked and well promoted.
  • Whether prominence is given to the gaming machines or another activity. For example, are the machines situated at the entrance to the venue, or behind other activities at the venue?
  •  What activity is promoted most heavily at the venue or on signs outside the venue – the gaming machines or some other activity?
  • Whether most of the patrons in the premises are playing gaming machines or taking part in some other activity (this will vary at different times of the day and on different days of the week and it is the overall picture that will determine the main use of the venue).
  • The relative turnover from the gaming machines and other activities at the venue.

It is important to note that the requirements around the use of venues are different in the Gambling Act (2003) and the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act (2012). A venue may not meet the requirements for its alcohol licence but still comply with the Gambling Act.

However, if a class 4 venue’s primary business is selling alcohol, the loss of its alcohol licence could affect its ability to operate gaming machines because the primary activity must be offered and available at all times that the gaming machines are operating.

Reminder of banking dates over the Christmas Holidays

Due dates for banking GMP over the Christmas holidays are as follows:

  • Week ending 17 December is due Friday 22 December (normal)
  • Week ending 24 December is due Tuesday 9 January
  • Week ending 31 December is due Tuesday 9 January
  • Week ending 7 January is due Friday 12 January (normal)

(SOURCE: The Department of Internal Affairs, Gambits:NOW, 5th December 2017)