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TAB Chiefs Under Fire in Bribe Allegations

Written by:
Alistair Prescott
Published on:
Feb/14/2009

Reports have surfaced that TAB chiefs could be in some serious trouble over allegations they bribed government officials.

In an extraordinary move, the Department of Internal Affairs has launched an investigation into New Zealand Racing Board figures - which means that the government department charged with policing the pokie industry could prosecute employees of a quasi-government agency, New Zealand's Star Times reported on Sunday.

"While the latest inquiry focuses on the Waikato, the Star-Times understands Internal Affairs has spent months investigating cases around the country involving senior TAB figures and other racing-friendly pokie trusts.

"It is alleged that in some of those cases TAB and pokie trust staff or agents have approached pubs with in-house TABs and offered inducements - including full refurbishments of the premises - if they switch allegiance to the racing-friendly trust."

There is fierce competition between pokie trusts to secure as many pub venues as possible so they can award more grants, the paper points out.

Totalizator Agency Board in Australia and New Zealand, universally shortened to TAB, is the name given to monopoly totalisator organisations. All were originally government owned, but many of the Australian ones were privatised in the 1990s.

The TABs have extensive radio networks in Australia, except in Victoria and Tasmania where other parties own equivalent networks. All these networks share the National Racing Service, a continuous broadcast of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing. This makes up the bulk of these networks' content. Collectively, these networks own more radio licences than any other group in Australia - however their terrestrial coverage is less than the ABC as they generally have tiny wattages.

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Alistair Prescott, Gambling911.com         

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