The Filthy Few Motorcycle Club’s appeal for costs against the Gambling Commission’s decision to knock back its application for a raffle licence has failed.
The Tauranga motorcycle club traditionally raffles off a motor bike at its annual Metalmania show, held February 18/19 this year.
The Filthy Few has lost its appeal for costs against the Gambling Commission.
The motorcycle club applied to the secretary for Internal Affairs for the raffle licence in September last year. It was declined on November 18. The motorcycle club filed an appeal on December 6. The secretary withdrew his letter on February 17, reversing the earlier decision and removing the need for the appeal. The Filthy Few applied to the Gambling Commission for costs against the secretary.
The Motorcycle raffle is a traditional feature of the club’s Metalmania bike and tattoo shows, but permission was refused this time because police claimed concerns about the motorcycle club’s criminal associations and expressed concerns the raffle licence provided the club with a money laundering opportunity.
The club complained the secretary for Internal Affairs completely failed to assess the merits of the application and did no more than rubber stamp a police objection with no reference back to the club, constituting a breach of natural justice.
The lengthy police objection was quoted verbatim to the club in the secretary’s decision, leading the club’s counsel Paul Mabey QC to say: “There can be no other interpretation of the secretary’s refusal other than that he accepted the police objections verbatim without inquiry – he has rubber stamped them.”
The Gambling Commission says the secretary didn’t just rubber stamp the police objection, and that in spite of the Filthy Few’s ‘relatively unblemished history in running raffles’ the secretary was faced with an applicant which created legitimate concerns about its suitability based on information provided by police.
Chief gambling commissioner Graeme Reeves notes the Gambling Act provides no avenues of communication between applicants and the secretary.
A society cannot make written submission over a refusal to grant a raffle licence, and there is no provision for the secretary to consider additional submissions. The process available under other parts of the Act of negotiation and reconsideration were unavailable to both parties.
The club claimed costs of $10,000, which it says serves to address misconduct by the secretary deserving of a reprimand from the commission in the form of the awarding of costs.
The commission fell back on its history of not paying costs, and said that even if it did, $10,000 was too much and $1000 was better.
That was subjective and speculative, says Paul Mabey in submissions, who stated that at counsel’s rate of $600 plus GST per hour, $10,000 in costs was more than justified.
He went on to say ten per cent would not be realistic, and would not provide a deterrent to the secretary of internal affairs from future actions where decision making powers were delegated to third parties, in breach of the statutory duty of inquiry and responsible decision making.
The commission says the secretary’s default position is a licence will not be granted because the secretary is required to be satisfied about the suitability of the applicant. He must refuse a licence if his investigations, which include a police report, do not cause him to be satisfied.
It’s the fifth unsuccessful application for costs to the Gambling Commission.
The Gambling Commission is an independent statutory decision-making body established under the Gambling Act 2003. It hears casino licensing applications, and appeals on licensing and enforcement decisions made by the Secretary of Internal Affairs in relation to gaming machines and other non-casino gambling activities. The Gambling Commission has the powers of a Commission of Inquiry.