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12 November 2015

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Gaming room theft warning

The Department would like to alert gambling operators about a number of recent thefts from gaming rooms predominantly in the Wellington region, but we also believe incidents have occurred in Tauranga and Nelson. We understand that in these cases a substantial amount of money has been obtained through a method some in the industry refer to as “levering”.

Internal Affairs will not discuss the technique in detail, but it involves forcible interference with a gaming machine which compromises the operation of the coin hopper and cashbox. It enables a single coin to be continuously recycled, thus building up credits.

By using this method, it’s alleged that a man and woman have been able to recycle $2.00 coins to build up a credit balance. This amount is usually over $200 and has required a cancelled credit transaction.

This method of theft was first noticed approximately ten years ago and as a result changes were made to the Gaming Machine National Standards.

In the recent incidents, at one of the venues targeted in Wellington, the machine installation was to a level compliant to the National Standards, which forced the offenders to alter their approach and forcibly open the cashbox door.

These types of incidents are clearly criminal in nature and should be immediately reported to the Police. However, we encourage societies to ensure their gaming machines are compliant with the Gaming Machine National Standards. We also encourage societies to notify their venues of these incidents and encourage venue staff to regularly keep a check on punters in the gaming room and keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour.