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21 October 2015

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Royal assent

The Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3), now known as the Gambling Amendment Act 2015 (No 2), received the Royal assent yesterday with most provisions taking effect from today.

The October 16 edition of Gambits:now summarised the changes that are included in the Amendment Act.

Two of the changes that may affect you immediately were covered in Gambits:now on 6 October 2015. These were:

  • Key person changes meaning that we require additional information about key persons. A new GC5 Key Person Personal Information Form is now available on our website. Please see the previous Gambits for the details about the transition process.
  • All management services providers (and key persons within them) need to be added as key persons under the Act within 20 working days of the Royal assent (by 18 November)

This edition of Gambits:now covers some of the other changes in the Amendment Act in more depth.

We will help you get to grips with the new requirements so contact us if you need assistance.

Key persons changes

The Amendment Act simplifies one aspect of the definition of “key person in relation to a Class 4 venue licence” (venue key persons). This is done by removing the current requirement that the Secretary must have a “reasonable belief” that a person has a significant interest in the management, ownership or operation of the venue, in order for him or her to be considered a venue key person. Instead, the clause introduces an objective test of someone “who has” such an interest. An exception continues to apply for a member of a licensing trust, or trustee of a community trust, elected under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012.

The definition of venue key person is also extended to include a person who has the direct or indirect ability to exert a significant degree of influence over the management or operations of the venue or who may reasonably be perceived to have such ability. This will be a question of fact and examples of this may include anyone who lends the venue operator money in respect of the business, and others who may have the power to affect decisions made in respect of the venue.

If you believe that anyone involved with your venue, who is not currently listed as a key person, now falls under this definition they should be added as a key person and an amendment to your licence submitted.

Assessing suitability of applicants

The Amendment Act also allows the Secretary to take into account other matters besides those specifically mentioned in sections 52(4) and 68(1) when assessing the compliance profile of an applicant for a Class 4 operator’s licence or venue licence.

Additional factors that may be relevant to suitability are a key person’s non-compliance with other regulatory regimes (such as alcohol licensing laws), criminal associations, or other criminal conduct not associated with gambling.

The GC5 Key Person Personal Information Form has been updated to cover this change.

New Zealand Racing Board

The Amendment Act provides greater clarity concerning the New Zealand Racing Board’s ability to expand its Class 4 activities. 

A Class 4 venue licence may not be issued to the Board if another corporate society holds a Class 4 venue licence for the venue or held a Class 4 venue licence for the venue at any time during the five-year period immediately before the date on which the application for the licence is made.

The existing requirement for Board venues to be used mainly for race or sports betting remains and will continue to be determined on a case by case basis.

Three year licences

The Amendment Act provides the Secretary with discretion to issue Class 4 operators’ licences for up to three years. This will be a way of recognising ‘best practice’.

The Department talked about extended licensing at the regional gambling forums earlier in the year and has been developing its approach using your feedback. We will be engaging with the sector further on this.


The Amendment Act makes two key changes to the appeals process.

Use of judicial review

Societies have the right to appeal to the Gambling Commission against Department decisions to suspend, cancel, not issue or not renew, or amend conditions of Class 3 and 4 licences.

The Amendment Act restricts the ability of Class 3 or 4 licensees from applying for judicial review until after they have exercised their appeal rights to the Gambling Commission. This change ensures the efficiency of the appeals process and maintains the status of the Commission as a specialist appeals body.

This will apply only to decisions made by the Secretary after the Amendment Act’s commencement.

Effective date of Gambling Commission decisions

The Amendment Act also allows the Gambling Commission to delay the effect of its decisions, for example to allow an appellant to pursue judicial review proceedings, or, where a Class 4 operator has lost its licence, to enable an orderly wind-down of operations.

Venue payments

The Amendment Act allows for a change from the cost recovery process that we have at present, to a new venue payments model that is prescribed in regulations. These changes will not come into effect until regulations have been made.

A series of focus group meetings about the key aspects of a new venue payment system has been taking place with representatives from across the sector that builds on the earlier public consultation about venue payments in 2013. We will report back to the sector on progress and next steps at the planned gambling regional forums in November.

Grant publication requirements

The Amendment Act adds new grant publication requirements to the Gambling Act 2003 that must be met by societies that distribute funds to the community. These requirements will come into effect, either when regulations are made or one year after Royal assent, whichever comes earlier, and will apply only to matters that occur after this date.

These changes include:

  • details about what grant information societies must publish
  • requirements for grant committee members to disclose an interest in a grant recipient
  • allowing for the method of publication to be specified in regulations and be capable of changing with the times.

We will be in touch again about these requirements and whether or not regulations that fill in some of the details will be required. In the meantime, the current section governing publication of grants remains in force, including the requirement that grant information must still be published in a newspaper.

Annual reports

The Amendment Act adds a new requirement that financial statements included in a Class 4 society’s annual report must comply with regulations.

These requirements will come into effect later when supporting regulations have been made. Societies’ annual reports that cover a period preceding the commencement of the Act are to comply with the previous requirements.

As with the other new regulations, we will be consulting the sector on the proposed content.