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5 August 2016

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Gambling Commission clarifies the purpose of Gambling Act provision relating to NZRB venue licence applications

A recent Gambling Commission decision has clarified the purpose of section 33(3) of the Act that came into force in October 2015.  This provision provides that a Class 4 venue licence may not be issued to the New Zealand Racing Board (NZRB) if another corporate society holds a licence for the venue, or has held a licence for the venue at any time in the preceding five years.

The NZRB filed two venue licence applications prior to section 33(3) coming into effect on 21 October 2015.  After some discussion between the NZRB and the Secretary to resolve issues regarding the completeness of the applications, the Secretary issued a decision declining to grant the venue licences.  The ground for that decision was that section 33(3) had come into effect and the Secretary did not have the ability to issue the licences to the NZRB as other societies held venue licences in respect of each of the venues at that time.

In its decision GC09/16 the Commission held that the Secretary’s decision to refuse to grant the venue licences to the NZRB on this basis was incorrect.  The NZRB was entitled to have the merits of its application determined under the law prevailing at the time it lodged its completed application.  The Commission referred the applications back to the Secretary with a direction to reconsider the applications, in accordance with the criteria set out in section 67, on the material available immediately prior to 21 October 2015. 

This decision is narrow in its application as it only applies to NZRB venue licence applications made before section 33(3) came into effect; however the Department welcomes the clarification provided by the decision.