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Practice Notes

Application for Casino Operator's Licence

Application for the Renewal of Casino Venue Licence

Application by Secretary to Suspend or Cancel Casino Licence

Application for Mortgage, Charge or Encumbrance

Application to Transfer or Alienate as a Result of Mortgage, Charge or Encumbrance

Application to Approve Casino Venue Agreements or Amendments

Appeals

Application by Casino Licence Holder or Request by Secretary to Specify, Vary or Revoke the Conditions of a Casino Licence

Application for Temporary Authority to Operate a Casino

Orders to Remove or Circumvent Significant Influence in a Casino of an Associated Person

Complaints

Practice Notes




These notes are a guide to the practice of the Gambling Commission (“the Commission”) generally. They are not to be seen as inflexible rules, but should be followed unless there is a good reason not to. These notes should be read in conjunction with the Commission’s Procedure Diagrams and Forms.


Lodging of Applications

1.Applications made under section 224(1)(a)-(f) and 224(1)(l) should be made using the requisite Commission forms. The application, accompanying materials and a cheque for the applicable fee must be delivered to the Commission’s premises, marked for the attention of the Executive Director. Unless advised otherwise by the Executive Director, one original and one copy of the application and accompanying materials should be provided.

2.The Commission may require the applicant to provide additional information if the application and/or accompanying materials are incomplete. Processing of the application will be put on hold until the required information is provided.

3.The Commission’s policy is that persons with a significant influence in the proposed holder of a casino licence will need to provide photographs and fingerprints as part of initiating applications for casino operators licences, renewals of casino venue licences and applications to transfer or alienate as a result of a mortgage, charge or encumbrance.

Lodging of Appeals

4.Appeals made under section 224(1)(g)-(k) of the Act must be lodged with the Commission within 15 working days of the date of notice of the decision by the Department of Internal Affairs.

5.The original of the notice of appeal and a copy, together with a cheque for the applicable fee, should be delivered to the Commission’s premises, marked for the attention of the Executive Director.

6.If a notice of appeal is received after the 15 working day period, it will be recorded by the Commission as out of time, unless within the same 15 working day period an application for an extension of the date for filing a notice of appeal is lodged in the prescribed form. An appeal which is lodged out of time cannot proceed and will be dismissed.

7.The Chief Gambling Commission will determine applications for extensions of the date for filing a notice of appeal and fix such period for the filing of appeals as he or she considers appropriate. If written consent to the proposed extension is obtained from the respondent and lodged with the application, an extension will normally be granted.

Complaints to the Commission

8.Complaints made under section 81 must be in the prescribed form for a notice of complaint and should be delivered to the Commission’s premises, marked for the attention of the Executive Director. The original and a copy of the notice of complaint should be provided.

Hearings

9.The Commission will hold an oral hearing when considering and deciding the following:

(a)applications for renewals of casino licences pursuant to section 224(1)(b);

(b)applications by the Secretary for orders to suspend or cancel a casino licence pursuant to section 224(1)(c), if the licence holder or any affected person requests an oral hearing; and

(c)applications for temporary authority to operate a casino pursuant to section 224(1)(l).

10.The Commission otherwise expects that many applications and appeals will be heard on the papers. Oral hearings will be held whenever natural justice or efficiency requires.

11.The Commission may convene an oral hearing if it thinks fit, even if it initially decides to hear an application or appeal on the papers.

12.Unless parties are advised otherwise, hearings will be held at the offices of the Commission at 65 New North Road, Eden Terrace, Auckland.

13.Hearings for renewals of casino venue licences pursuant to section 224(1)(b) will be held in public. The Commission will otherwise generally conduct hearings in private.

14.If a hearing is to be held in public, the Commission will give notice of the hearing to persons it considers are likely to be interested.

15.The Commission may hear privileged or sensitive evidence in private and can make orders that certain information is confidential to the Commission and the parties.

Prehearing Conferences

16.The Commission may convene a pre-hearing conference of the parties or their representatives in relation to the hearing of an application or appeal. The purpose of the conference is to ensure that proper preparations are made for the fair, orderly and efficient hearing of the proceedings.

17.The Commission will notify the parties of the time of the conference and the particular matters proposed to be considered. Pre-hearing conferences will generally be conducted by telephone. Any party who intends to take part in the hearing of the application or appeal should participate in the conference or be represented at it by someone who is familiar with the part to be taken and the submissions and evidence to be made.

18.Each party who is to attend a pre-hearing conference should serve and lodge a memorandum two days in advance of the conference setting out what they regard are the issues to be determined, the pre-hearing steps required and a proposed timetable.

19.Prehearing conferences will be conducted by the Commission as a whole in relation to its functions under section 224(1)(a)-(f) and as a division in relation to its functions under section 224(1)(g)-(n).

20.Directions may be given about disposal of preliminary questions, the conduct of the hearing (whether oral or on the papers, public or private), delivery of agreed statements of fact, affidavits, and submissions, and the time and duration of a hearing.

Hearing of Applications

21.The Commission will consider and determine applications made under section 224(1)(a)-(f) and (l) as the decision maker in the first instance. The requirement for a hearing and the process for determining an application will vary depending on the Act’s requirements, as specified in the Act and summarised in the Commission’s procedure diagrams.

Hearing of Appeals

22.The Commission will consider and determine appeals from decisions made by the Secretary under section 224(1)(g)-(k) anew, as though it is the decision maker in the first instance. In doing so, the Commission will make its own independent decision on the basis of the material then before it and without being limited by the Secretary's decision. It may confirm, vary, or reverse a decision of the Secretary or refer a matter back to the Secretary with directions to reconsider a decision.

23.It is expected that many appeals will be considered and determined on the papers, and participation will be limited to the appellant and the Secretary. The Commission will notify the appellant, the Secretary and any other party who is to attend the appeal whether it will hold an oral hearing or determine the matter on the papers.

24.If the Commission decides to determine a matter on the papers and the appeal is limited to the appellant and the Secretary, standard timetable orders will apply, unless otherwise directed. If the appellant or Secretary do not think standard timetable orders should apply, this must be notified to the Commission with reasons either, by the appellant, at the date of filing the notice of appeal, or by the Secretary, at the time it provides the Department of Internal Affairs’ file.

25.The standard timetable orders are:

(a)The appellant shall lodge with the Commission and serve on the Secretary written submissions, any agreed statement of facts and any affidavits within 20 working days of notification by the Commission

(b)The Secretary shall lodge and serve written submissions and any affidavits within 10 working days of lodgement of the appellant’s evidence and submissions.

(c)The appellant shall have a further 10 working days in which to file further written submissions and any affidavits strictly in reply.

26.If the Commission decides to hold an oral hearing or decides that the standard timetable orders are not appropriate in a matter to be heard on the papers, the Commission may convene a pre-hearing conference. In the case of an oral hearing, the fixture date and length will be set at the pre-hearing conference and the Commission will determine an appropriate timetable regarding the exchange of any affidavits and the lodgement and exchange of opening submissions.

Conduct of Oral Hearings

27.The order of proceedings at an oral hearing of an appeal or an application will generally be as follows:

(a) Introductory comments by the Commission to deal with “housekeeping matters”;

(b)Opening statements by the parties (applicant or appellant goes first, followed by those who support, then those who oppose);

(c)Witnesses confirm their affidavits and may be cross-examined and asked questions by the Commission (applicant or appellant calls evidence first, followed by those who support, then those who oppose);

(d)Closing addresses given by the parties (applicant or appellant goes last).

Statements of Evidence and Submissions

28.The Commission’s preference is to receive from the parties to an appeal an agreed statement of facts covering relevant factual matters which are not in dispute. Beyond this, factual material must be presented to the Commission by way of sworn affidavit.

29.The Commission expects that submissions by parties, oral and written, will outline the circumstances of the case and the nature of the evidence relied upon, state the factors relevant to their case, and state the legal principles upon which they rely.

30.If copies of submissions, statements of fact and affidavits are not delivered in time, leave will need to be sought to rely on the evidence and submissions, and the failure to comply will need to be explained. Leave to rely on the evidence or submissions may be refused, or the party in default may be ordered to pay the costs of adjournment incurred by other parties and by the Commission.

Exhibits

31.All exhibits, including photographs and other visual presentations, are expected to be presented in a practical and manageable form. By way of example, photographs should be separately mounted and identified. A bundle of documents, or a series of photographs, should be presented in a folder or booklet. If a photograph, or other visual presentation, is of a size or kind that it is not practical to provide copies to other parties, it will suffice for the party intended to produce it at the hearing to notify the other parties not less than five working days prior to the hearing where it may conveniently be inspected.

Experts

32.In considering an application or appeal, the Commission is not limited to considering of submissions and evidence presented to it, but may itself or through an expert make inquiries, conduct research and receive reports on matters before the Commission. It may receive evidence that is not admissible in a Court.

Costs

33.The Commission will not normally award costs but reserves its right to do so.

34.Factors which will be relevant in considering whether to order payment of costs, and in fixing the amount of an award, will include whether any party, in the Commission’s opinion, has demonstrated bad faith or procedural misconduct.

Communicating with the Commission

35.Where a party to proceedings before the Commission seeks to communicate with the Commission on any matters relating to the merits of the case or its outcome, otherwise than in the course of an oral hearing or at a prehearing conference duly convened, such communication shall be by way of a letter filed with the Commission and served on other parties, so that such other parties may have the opportunity to respond in like manner. It is generally inappropriate to seek to communicate with the Commission after a hearing has concluded and prior to the issue of the Commission’s decision.

Information Provided to the Commission

36.The Commission is subject to the Official Information Act 1982 but submissions and evidence received by the Commission are not “official information” under that Act. The Commission will endeavour to protect confidential or sensitive information provided to it, to the extent allowed by the interests of justice and legal requirements.

37.The Commission will, where appropriate, withhold material supplied to it, if reasons exist to do so under the Official Information Act 1982. If information provided to the Commission is regarded as confidential or sensitive, the party providing it should so indicate.

38.In the case of applications to renew a casino venue licence, parties should assume that information provided to the Commission will be publicly available unless the Commission expressly directs otherwise following a request to restrict public access.

Summary

39.The foregoing paragraphs outline the Commission’s general practices. However the Commission has power to regulate its procedure in such manner as it sees fit. It may therefore modify its procedure in particular cases if the interests of justice and the orderly and logical presentation of evidence so require. These practice notes will be amended from time to time, when appropriate.
     
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