Pokie operator fights loss of licence

Last updated 10:43 18/08/2014

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Marlborough-based gaming machine trust Bluegrass Holdings has gone to the High Court for a judicial review of the Gambling Commission's decision to cancel its operating licence.

The trust went to the High Court in Auckland on Friday to challenge the decision, which would have seen it no longer being able to operate gaming machines from today. Bluegrass has 140 machines in eight locations around New Zealand, including Blenheim and Nelson.

Trust chairman Peter Gurr said High Court judge Justice John Faire had given the trust a good hearing. It is understood the trust's licence has been extended until the end of September.

Bluegrass Holdings had been closed by the Department of Internal Affairs after the Gaming Commission upheld a decision that its licence had been obtained through deception. Blenheim man Michael O'Brien had been deemed "not suitable" but had been a key person in the trust's operations, the commission found.

Gurr, a Blenheim electrician who has chaired the trust since November 2012, said the trust had done everything it could to address the concerns raised by the department.

The commission's decision also recognised it was not clear what more the trust directors could have done, he said.

"In my time as chairman, he's had no involvement at all," Gurr said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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