The Department has been working with Akarana Community Trust to address matters identified in relation to the renewal of their Class 4 operator’s licence. The key issues involved historical matters regarding potential conflict of interest, improper influence and grant decision making.
As a result of this investigation Akarana will serve an operator’s licence suspension over three consecutive days in May 2017. Akarana’s operator’s licence will be renewed and Akarana can continue to support its authorised purposes, including the strong support it gives the local Indian Community.
Some venue licences held by Akarana will not be renewed until matters related to the suitability of related venue key persons are resolved.
A fundamental principle in relation to Class 4 gambling is that the process for determining which community activities will receive funding are as free as possible from conflicts of interest and improper influence. Operators and key persons of venues in which gaming machines are hosted must have no influence over the distribution of proceeds by the society to which the venue operator is aligned.
Akarana has also agreed to make changes in relation to their day-to-day operation and governance arrangements. These include changes to the structure of their board, including the introduction of an additional independent director and the appointment of Jeet Suchdev QSM as Board Chair. Changes have also been made to the net proceeds committee membership.
In addition, Akarana has volunteered to undergo a full audit of its grant processes and procedures to assure the Department that the changes implemented by Akarana align with good practice expectations. These moves are part of the work by Internal Affairs with the Class 4 sector to improve performance and ensure community funding is transparent.
Gareth Bostock, Director Gambling Compliance Group says the way in which the Akarana concerns were addressed is an example of a successful outcome for all parties, particularly the good community causes that receive grant funding from gambling.
“Our goal is to maximise the benefits and minimise the harms from gambling,” he says.
“We are encouraged by the changing nature of the relationship between the regulator and the operators we regulate which means we are more frequently able to reach a desired outcome without resorting to court action.
“We are all striving to work towards best practice and by working together we stand a better chance of ensuring the integrity of the sector.”