Gambling machine grant probed

The most intensive and unprecedented investigation into complaints against gaming machine grants is underway at the Internal Affairs Department as a joint operation with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Organised Financial Crime Agency (OFCANZ) of New Zealand.

Codenamed ‘Operation Chestnut,’ the investigation already accounts for more than 100,000 documents and interviews with scores of people.

Internal Affairs Gambling Compliance Director Debbie Despard said that the allegation is a significant and complex matter with a range of serious concerns.

“It is the largest investigation in the history of the gambling sector, expected to conclude in the first half of next year and the full range of prosecution and licensing sanctions will be considered in respect to those involved,” she said.

She said that those breaching the law should understand that they will be held accountable and that teamwork with SFO and OFCANZ enhances the ability of her department to conduct thorough investigations.

“We expect those that participate in the gambling sector to be accountable, responsible and act within the law. The integrity of the pokie grants system is essential to prevent any group gaining unlawful advantage over grant funding, which deprives genuine community groups of obtaining grants for their legitimate causes,” Ms Despard said.

Photo : Debbie Despard

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