Local Pokie Clubs Still Operating Despite Cancelled Licences

Posted on May 13th, 2014

The online pokies industry in New Zealand is really having a tough time this year. Of course, it does not help their cause any more when one of their ilk does something that just flouts the face of the law; not only is it a cause of embarrassment for every pokie lobbyist there is in the county, it also loads a fresh barrage of ammunition for the anti-pokie lobbyists—notably, those who support Maori MP Te Ururoa Flavell’s highly divisive Gambling Harm Reduction Amendment Bill. So it was early this week when the Nelson Gambling Policy Taskforce (NGPT), an internationally recognised organisation that deals with the enforcement of the country’s gaming laws, found Bluegrass Trust to be guilty of running pokie machines in its venues even while the operators are still lodging an appeal to be granted the right to carry a pokie licence.

The Bluegrass Trust, a not-for-profit pokie organisation based in Bleinheim, located in the southern island of New Zealand, has been alleged by the NGPT that all of their online pokies australia and venues, wherein they have hundreds located all over the district, were still in operation. The charge was made in conjunction with a Department of Internal Affairs ruling some weeks ago when the trust’s pokie licence has been cancelled amidst accusations of deliberately providing misleading information with regards to how they had handled the giving out of loans to their affiliated pokie clubs.

To make matters worse than it already is for the beleaguered trust, Darci Goldsworthy, the designated spokesperson for the NGPT, unabashedly lashed out against Bluegrass: “This trust has had its licence cancelled for allegedly giving false information to the DIA and a key person has been deemed unfit to operate a gaming trust, yet all its venues and machines are still operating. It shouldn’t be allowed.”

However, what made his latter statement more troubling was the fact that he did not bother to conceal what the NGPT—or rather, him—really thought of the pokie operators in New Zealand. “This is not justice… these cases are black and white – they have had their licenses cancelled yet the machines are still operating and they’re still taking money out of our communities every day. This is exactly why we need the current law around pokie machines reformed. It’s too focused on letting the gambling industry do what they like despite their history of corruption and the fact that nowhere in the world has any community ever asked for pokie machines in their neighbourhood, And once they’re in, it seems like even the High Court and the DIA combined can’t get them out. How can this possibly be right?”

Now, if that last statement was not a glowing recommendation of the Gambling Amendment Bill, then there are certainly others more eloquent than this. Let us just hope that everyone who had heard him does not go frothing mad with another case of anti-pokie hysteria.

Cleopatra Slots from IGT

International Gaming Technology seems to be on a roll nowadays, innit? It was only earlier this year when they released their own take on the social gaming space with DoubleDown Casino. Amidst all the expectations that IGT will only be tapping into a “niche” market of gamers on Facebook, they have gleefully defied all of that with the fact that everyone is a potential market as long as one has a fairly active Facebook account.

Never one to rest on their laurels—as can only be expected from a company worth its pedigree—IGT had just made available one of their most popular land-based video slots in the hallowed spaces of casual gaming: Cleopatra.

Technically, Cleopatra is not a new pokie game per se—chances are, if you frequent your local casinos often enough, you may have seen some punter plugging away at a screen filled with ankhs and sphinxes and all manner of Ancient Egypt-inspired imagery, then that’s the game—but it had proven to be so popular with floor players around the globe that the bigwigs at IGT felt that now is the time to launch the title online and for free. Yay!

In a press release courtesy of IGT’s Vice-President of emerging Businesses, Robert Melendres, he explained why the company felt the need to broaden their market despite knowing the financial risks that may come with releasing such a popular title suddenly for free: “Building on the success of the recent launch of Da Vinci Diamonds into the DoubleDown Casino, we are proud to offer players yet another of IGT's most iconic slot themes… With its launch on DoubleDown Casino, Cleopatra fans now have another way to experience and enjoy their favourite game.”