Gambits: News for the Gambling Sector

12 March 2019

The first issue of Gambits was sent out on Tuesday 12th March 2019. In the March issue the DIA indicate that they intend to move to a monthly publishing schedule and are currently exploring changes to the newsletters template.

Below we have extracted snippets of information from Gambits, we expect the full version to be published on the DIAs website shortly.

Moving from Regime to System

Over the past few months, we’ve been making some changes in the Gambling Group at DIA which will better position our regulatory function for the future and enable us to move our focus from regime to system.

Chris Thornborough, Acting Director of the Gambling Group says: “The change in approach reflects that we’re part of a wider system. The traditional regime approach is focused on compliance with the law. We will continue to focus on compliance with the Gambling Act, but, in the system approach, we’re also interested in how the wider gambling system operates in New Zealand, and how we can work with others in the system to achieve broader community outcomes.”

Chris has a regulatory background and has worked in public policy in New Zealand and Australia. He helped review DIA’s regulatory services function in 2017 and is assisting General Manager Maarten Quivooy with recruitment for a permanent director and managers for DIA’s Gambling Group. 

Mystery Shopper Returns

The mystery shopper programme is returning and will become part of business-as-usual regulatory activity in the coming months.

DIA worked with a range of stakeholders, including casinos, societies, venues, problem gambling service providers and dedicated Asian,Pacific and Māori services to co-design scenarios and evaluation criteria. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this work. The main aim of mystery shopping in casinos and class 4 venues, including clubs, is to minimise gambling harm by ensuring that policies and measures to achieve this are being applied effectively nationwide.

Online Gambling

As a regulator, we’re taking a very active interest in online gambling which, with the exception of the TAB and Lotto NZ, is unlawful to operate in New Zealand. This means we’ve been proactively looking for ways to better inform gamblers and those providing opportunities to gamble. Late last year, we took the opportunity to inform Kiwis of the risks of online gambling, through this media release. We’ve also written to visiting cruise ships to remind them of their obligations under the law.

As a regulator, we continue to look for opportunities to reinforce the integrity of the New Zealand regulatory system and to protect New Zealanders from the dangers of under-regulated or unregulated gambling.

Changes and Reminders

GAAP Requirements

The Gambling Act 2003 requires Class 4 societies to provide audited financial statements to the Department of Internal Affairs within three months of the end of a society's financial year. Section 108 of the Gambling Act 2003 requires financial statements prepared in accordance with the Generally Accepted Accounting Practice (GAAP). The relevant standard can be found at

The new reporting standards came into effect from 1 April 2015. Please ensure your financial statements comply with GAAP.


We have received Gaming Machine Account Summary renewal applications with financial information for the “current year” that had been rounded to the nearest “thousands” instead of the nearest “dollars”.

The financial information for the current year should be consistent with the rounding in the financial statements. It should be rounded to the nearest dollar and reconciled with the audited financial statements.

Gaming Machine Account Summary - GST inclusive or GST exclusive?

For Class 4 societies and clubs that are registered for GST, the Gaming Machine Account Summary licence renewal form should be completed on a GST exclusive basis. The GST portion of the costs should not be included.

Forensic Accountants - new contracts

Last year, we said farewell to Jo Lipscombe, Investigating Accountant based in Wellington. 

Angela Lam, our Forensic Accountant in the Regulatory Investigation team has taken over the financial viability review of Class 4 licence applications. And Diana Kim joined DIA to work with Angela on the financial viability review. 

Angela has been with the Department for over two years. She was a specialist investigator at Inland Revenue with over 12 years’ experience in investigating complex tax evasion/tax fraud. She also led several successful prosecutions during her time there. Her background includes reviewing complex debt arrangements, phoenix companies; cash-flows forecast for the purpose of debt settlements and investigating cash economy and property transactions. 

Diana’s accounting background includes working for one of the big four accounting firms, and 9 years as a specialist tax investigator in the Significant Enterprise unit at Inland Revenue.

(SOURCE: Gambits March 2019, The Department of Internal Affairs)


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