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NZ pokie trust under investigation

28 March 2008

NEW ZEALAND -- As reported by the New Zealand Herald: "The Internal Affairs Department is investigating a Rotorua-based pokie trust that gave $3 million to the racing industry in the last half of last year for what it describes as 'marketing'.

"The First Sovereign Trust, which runs poker machines at 21 bars from Auckland to Christchurch, gave $3 million to racing clubs and only $1.6 million to other groups in the six months to December.

"Its chairman, Malcolm Tukino Short, was reported in Truth newspaper yesterday as saying the grants to racing were 'a marketing plan to make more money'.

"...Internal Affairs gambling compliance director Mike Hill said he received a complaint about the comments yesterday from the Problem Gambling Foundation and would 'investigate them thoroughly'.

"'Section 118 of the Gambling Act forbids gambling operators seeking or receiving any benefits in the distribution of grants,' he said.

"...Problem Gambling Foundation northern regional manager Graham Aitken said pokie trusts could legally give grants to racing clubs, but it was illegal to expect any benefit in return..."

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