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Interactive Gaming Act 2000

Assent: 5 May 2000
Commencement: 31 May 2000

REPUBLIC OF VANUATU


VANUATU INTERACTIVE GAMING ACT

No. 16 of 2000

Arrangement of Sections

Part 1 - Preliminary

1. Interpretation
2. Interactive game

Part 2 - Licences for interactive gaming

Division 1 - Offence for unlicensed interactive gaming

3. Licensees to conduct interactive gaming

Division 2 - Licensing procedure

4. Application for licence
5. Application to be granted or refused
6. Investigation in relation to application
7. Existing operators taken to be licensed

Division 3 - Conditions and form of licence

8. Conditions of licence
9. Licence fee
10. Form of licence

Division 4 - Suspension, revocation and surrender

11. Suspension and revocation of licence
12. Immediate suspension
13. Effect of suspension and revocation
14. Surrender of licence

Division 5 - Other general provisions

15. Renewal of licence
16. Licence not to be transferred
17. Mortgage, charge or encumbrance over licence

Part 3 - Compliance requirements

18. No internet gambling by persons under 18
19. Approval of interactive games
20. Approval of control systems
21. Change of control system
22. Approval of equipment
23. Financial institution accounts
24. Notification of changes
25. Records
26. Submission of reports
27. Audit
28. Special audit
29. Investigation of licensee

Part 4 - Interactive gaming tax

30. Liability to tax
31. Payment and returns for calculation of tax
32. Penalty for late payment and underpayment
33. Recovery of amounts

Part 5 - Regulator

34. Functions and powers of Regulator
35. Code of Practice
36. Complaints
37. Appointment of inspectors
38. Reports
39. Delegation of functions and powers
40. Contracting out services and work

Part 6 - Miscellaneous

41. Appeal rights
42. Confidentiality
43. Forfeiture
44. Regulations
45. Application of certain other Acts
46. Commencement


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REPUBLIC OF VANUATU


VANUATU INTERACTIVE GAMING ACT

No. 16 of 2000

An Act to regulate interactive gaming, and for related purposes.


BE IT ENACTED by the President and Parliament as follows:

PART 1

PRELIMINARY

INTERPRETATION

1. In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears:

"approved form" means a form approved by the Regulator for use under this Act;

"close associate", of an applicant for a licence, means:

(a) a director or an executive officer of the applicant; or

(b) a shareholder of the applicant; or

(c) a person who the Minister reasonably believes will, if a licence is granted to the applicant, be associated with the ownership or management of the licensee's operations;

"close associate", of a licensee, means:

(a) a director or an executive officer of the licensee; or

(b) a shareholder of the licensee; or

(c) a person who the Minister reasonably believes is associated with the ownership or management of the licensee's operations;

"code" means the code of practice in force under section 35;

"commencement" means the commencement of this Act;

"conduct" includes promote, organise and operate;

"control system" means a system of internal controls, and administrative and accounting procedures for the conduct of interactive games by a licensee;

"Customs officer" has the same meaning as in the Customs Act No. 15 of 1999;

"executive officer", of a company, means a person who is concerned with, or takes part in, the company's management, whether or not the person is a director or the person's position is given the name of executive officer;

"gambling record" of a licensee, means a record (including a document) about the operations conducted by the licensee under its licence;

"inspector" means a person who is an inspector for this Act;

"interactive game" has the meaning given by section 2;

"interactive gaming equipment" means a machine or other device (whether electronic, electrical or mechanical), computer software or any other thing used or suitable for use in the conduct of an interactive game;

"interactive gaming tax" means the tax imposed under section 30;

"law enforcement agency" means:

(a) the Vanuatu Police Force; or

(b) any other Police Force outside Vanuatu; or

(c) the Office of the Public Prosecutor; or

(d) any body outside Vanuatu with similar functions to the Office of the Public Prosecutor; or

(e) any other body within or outside Vanuatu with law enforcement functions;

"licence" means a licence issued under this Act to conduct interactive games;

"licensee" means a company that is licensed under this Act to conduct interactive games;

"Minister" means the Minister responsible for finance;

"player" means a person who participates in an interactive game;

"regulations" means regulations made under this Act;

"telecommunication device" means:

(a) a computer adapted for communicating by way of the internet or another communications network; or

(b) a television receiver adapted to allow the viewer to transmit information by way of a cable television network or other communications device; or

(c) a telephone; or

(d) any other electronic device or thing for communicating at a distance.

INTERACTIVE GAME

2. (1) A game is an interactive game if:

(a) a prize consisting of money or something else of value is offered or can be won under the rules of the game; and

(b) a player:

(i) enters the game or takes any step in the game by means of a telecommunications device; and

(ii) gives, or undertakes to give, a monetary payment or other valuable consideration to enter the game; and

(c) the winner of a prize in the game is decided:

(i) wholly or partly by chance; or

(ii) by a competition or other activity in which the outcome is wholly or partly dependant on the player's skill.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), betting on a race event, sporting event or any other event by means of a telecommunications device is taken to be an interactive game.

(3) Betting conducted under the Betting (Control) Act No. 1 of 1993 on commencement is not an interactive game.

(4) A game is not an interactive game if a regulation declares it not to be an interactive game.

PART 2

LICENCES FOR INTERACTIVE GAMING

DIVISION 1 - OFFENCE FOR UNLICENSED INTERACTIVE GAMING

 

LICENSEES TO CONDUCT INTERACTIVE GAMING

3. (1) A person must not conduct an interactive game wholly or partly in Vanuatu unless the person is a licensee and the game has been approved by the Regulator under section 19.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction:

(a) if the person is an individual - by a fine not exceeding VT 20,000,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years, or both; or

(b) in any other case - by a fine not exceeding VT 100,000,000.

DIVISION 2 - LICENSING PROCEDURE

APPLICATION FOR LICENCE

4. (1) An application for a licence to conduct interactive games in Vanuatu must:

(a) be made by a company registered under the Companies Act [CAP 191]; and

(b) be made in writing to the Minister; and

(c) be in such form as is specified by the Regulator; and

(d) be accompanied by such application fee as is prescribed by the regulations.

(2) The Minister may, by written notice given to an applicant for a licence, require the applicant to give the Minister further information or documents that are necessary and reasonable to help the Minister determine the application. The notice must specify a period of not less than 14 days within which the applicant is to give the further information or documents.

(3) An applicant must not:

(a) make an application that is false or misleading in any material particular; or

(b) give in response to a notice under subsection (2) any information or document that is false or misleading in any material particular.

(4) An applicant that contravenes subsection (3) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 60,000,000.

(5) An application fee referred to in paragraph (1)(d) is not refundable.

APPLICATION TO BE GRANTED OR REFUSED

5. (1) The Minister must:

(a) consider an application for a licence; and

(b) either grant or refuse to grant the application within 2 months after receiving it and any other information or documents requested by the Minister under section 4.

(2) After consultation with the Regulator, the Minister may grant an application for a licence only if:

(a) the Minister is satisfied that the applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence; and

(b) the application and any information or documents given in response to a notice under section 4 are not false or misleading in any material particular; and

(c) any person required to comply with subsection 6(3) has done so.

(3) In deciding whether an applicant is a suitable person to hold a licence, the Minister must have regard to the following:

(a) the character, business reputation and financial background of each close associate of the applicant;

(b) the applicant's current financial position and whether the applicant has the financial, technical and other resources to conduct interactive games under a licence;

(c) whether the financial resources of the applicant are available from a source that is not tainted with illegality;

(d) whether the applicant has in place a satisfactory corporate, ownership or trust structure;

(e) the experience and business ability of the persons who will be involved in the management or operation of the applicant's operations;

(f) anything else prescribed under the regulations.

(4) If the Minister decides to grant an application for a licence, the Minister must within 7 days issue a licence to the applicant.

(5) If the Minister decides to refuse to grant an application for a licence, the Minister must within 7 days give the applicant written notice of the decision.

INVESTIGATION IN RELATION TO APPLICATION

6. (1) The Minister must conduct the investigations and make the inquiries the Minister considers to be necessary to enable him or her to determine an application for a licence.

(2) The Minister may obtain from a law enforcement agency a report on any individual who:

(a) is a close associate of the applicant; or

(b) is or will be involved in the management or operation of the applicant's operations.

(3) For the purposes this section, the Minister may require an individual mentioned in subsection (2) to have his or her photograph, finger prints and palm prints taken.

(4) A person who fails to comply with a requirement under subsection (3) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 5,000,000.

EXISTING OPERATORS TAKEN TO BE LICENSED

7. (1) Any person conducting an interactive game wholly or partly in Vanuatu under a licence or other agreement on commencement (in this section called "existing operators") is taken to be a licensee.

(2) The Minister must grant a licence to each existing operator as soon as practicable after commencement.

(3) If, on commencement, an existing operator is in contravention of any provision of this Act, the operator must:

(a) give written details of the contravention to the Regulator within one month after commencement; and

(b) rectify the contravention within 2 months, or such longer period as the Regulator approves in writing, after commencement.

(4) Compensation is not payable by the Government to an existing operator in respect of any loss or damage suffered by the operator that:

(a) arises from the operator rectifying a contravention of this Act in accordance with subsection (3); or

(b) arises as a result of the operator having its licence suspended or revoked after failing to rectify a contravention of this Act in accordance with subsection (3); or

(c) is in any other way attributable to the coming into force of this Act.

DIVISION 3 - CONDITIONS AND FORM OF LICENCE

CONDITIONS OF LICENCE

8. (1) The Minister must, after consultation with the Regulator, determine the conditions of a licence.

(2) The period of a licence cannot exceed 3 years.

(3) The Minister may include in a licence any other conditions that are necessary or desirable in the public interest, or for the proper conduct of interactive gaming.

(4) The Minister may:

(a) vary the conditions of a licence; or

(b) impose further conditions of a licence.

(5) Before changing the conditions of a licence under subsection (4), the Minister must notify the licensee in writing of the proposed change and give the licensee at least 14 days in which to make submissions in writing to the Minister.

(6) The Minister must:

(a) take into account any submissions made by the licensee in making his or her decision; and

(b) give the licensee written notice of any change to the conditions of its licence.

LICENCE FEE

9. (1) A licensee must pay to the Regulator a fee prescribed by the regulations for the grant of a licence (including a licence granted under subsection 7(2)) and on each anniversary of the date the licence was granted.

(2) A licensee that fails to pay the fee by the due date is liable to a surcharge equal to 100 percent of the prescribed fee. The fee and the surcharge are debts due to the State by the licensee and the State may recover the debts by action in a court of competent jurisdiction.

FORM OF LICENCE

10. (1) A licence must be in the form approved by the Minister.

(2) The approved form must provide for the inclusion of the following particulars:

(a) the licensee's name;

(b) the date of issue of the licence;

(c) the period for which the licence is granted;

(d) the conditions of the licence;

(e) such other particulars as are prescribed.

DIVISION 4 - SUSPENSION, REVOCATION AND SURRENDER

SUSPENSION AND REVOCATION OF LICENCE

11. (1) The Minister may, after consultation with the Regulator, suspend or revoke a licence if:

(a) the Minister is satisfied on reasonable grounds that:

(i) the licensee is no longer a suitable person to hold a licence; or

(ii) the licence was issued on the basis of materially false or misleading information or documents; or

(iii) following an investigation by an inspector under section 37 or an audit under section 27 or 28, the licensee has insufficient financial resources to conduct interactive games in accordance with its licence and it is in the public interest to suspend or revoke the licence; or

(b) the licensee is convicted of an offence against this Act; or

(c) the licensee is subject to voluntary or involuntary winding up proceedings or has a receiver appointed.

(2) In exercising his or her power under subparagraph (1)(a)(i), the Minister may have regard to the matters mentioned in subsection 5(3). The Minister may exercise the power whether or not a notice has been given by the licensee under section 24.

(3) If the Minister intends to suspend or revoke a licence, the Minister must notify the licensee in writing of the proposed suspension or revocation and give the licensee at least 14 days in which to make submissions in writing to the Minister.

(4) The Minister must take into account any submissions made by the licensee in deciding whether to suspend or revoke the licence.

(5) The Minister must give the licensee written notice of any suspension or revocation of its licence.

IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION

12. (1) The Minister may, after consultation with the Regulator, suspend a licence immediately for a period not exceeding 90 days if the Minister believes that:

(a) a ground exists under section 11 to suspend or revoke the licence; and

(b) the circumstances are so extraordinary that it is imperative to suspend the licence immediately to ensure the public interest is not affected in an adverse and material way.

(2) The suspension:

(a) must be effected by a written notice given to the licensee; and

(b) operates immediately the notice is given; and

(c) continues to operate until the Minister cancels the suspension or it expires, whichever happens first.

EFFECT OF SUSPENSION AND REVOCATION

13. (1) A company whose licence is suspended or revoked under section 11 or 12 must cease to conduct all interactive games while the suspension or revocation is in force.

(2) The Minister may rescind the suspension of a licence on his or her own motion or on application in writing by the company concerned.

(3) The licensee can resume conducting interactive games when the suspension is rescinded or expires.

SURRENDER OF LICENCE

14. (1) The Minister may, after consultation with the Regulator, approve the surrender of a licence on application in writing by the licensee.

(2) The Minister may impose conditions relating to the surrender of a licence, including conditions that apply after the surrender and the former licensee must comply with those conditions.

(3) A former licensee that fails to comply with any conditions imposed under subsection (2) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 5,000,000.

DIVISION 5 - OTHER GENERAL PROVISIONS

RENEWAL OF LICENCE

15. (1) A licensee must apply in writing to the Minister to renew its licence not less than 28 days before the day on which the licence expires.

(2) The Minister may, after consultation with the Regulator, refuse to renew a licence on any ground referred to in subsection 11(1) on which the Minister may suspend or revoke the licence, but not on any other ground.

(3) If the Minister intends not to renew a licence, the Minister must notify the licensee in writing of the proposed refusal to renew and give the licensee at least 14 days in which to make submissions in writing to the Minister.

(4) The Minister must take into account any submissions made by the licensee in deciding whether to renew the licence.

(5) The Minister must give the licensee written notice of any refusal to renew the licence.

LICENCE NOT TO BE TRANSFERRED

16. A licence cannot be transferred except by way of enforcement of a mortgage, charge or encumbrance in accordance with subsection 17(2).

MORTGAGE, CHARGE OR ENCUMBRANCE OVER LICENCE

17. (1) A licensee must not mortgage, charge or otherwise encumber its licence except with the written approval of the Minister.

(2) If a person has a right to sell and transfer a licence under or because of a mortgage, charge or encumbrance, the licence may only be sold and transferred to a person approved by the Minister after consultation with the Regulator.

(3) The Minister must not approve the transfer of a licence, unless the Minister is satisfied that the proposed transferee is a suitable person to hold the licence.

(4) In deciding whether to approve the transfer, the Minister may take into account the matters set out in subsection 5(3) and exercise any of the powers in section 6 in relation to the proposed transferee.

(5) If a person has under, or because of, a mortgage, charge or encumbrance a power to appoint a receiver or manager of the business conducted under the licence, the power may only be exercised if the Minister first approves the proposed receiver or manager in writing.

PART 3

COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS

NO INTERNET GAMBLING BY PERSONS UNDER 18

18. (1) A licensee must not allow an individual who is under 18 years of age to play an interactive game conducted by the licensee.

(2) A licensee that contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 10,000,000.

APPROVAL OF INTERACTIVE GAMES

19. (1) A licensee must not conduct an interactive game under its licence unless the Regulator has given written approval for:

(a) the interactive game; and

(b) any software under which the game operates and, if possible, the source code for that game; and

(c) the rules of the game; and

(d) any material accompanying the game; and

(e) the way in which the game, and any accompanying material, presents to and interacts with the player.

(2) In deciding whether to give an approval, the Regulator may have regard to whether:

(a) each player of the game will have easy access to the rules of the game and information about the rate of return that the game provides; and

(b) the game operates strictly in accordance with any rules and information provided to players; and

(c) any aspect of the game is false or misleading; and

(d) the graphics, sounds, text and other presentational aspects of the game are socially responsible and in accordance with prescribed standards.

(3) A licensee that contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 50,000,000.

APPROVAL OF CONTROL SYSTEMS

20. (1) A licensee must not conduct interactive games under its licence unless the Regulator has given written approval for the licensee's control system.

(2) In deciding whether to approve a licensee's control system, the Regulator may have regard to the following:

(a) the licensee's general procedures to be followed for the conduct of interactive games;

(b) the licensee's procedures and standards for the maintenance, security, storage and transportation of equipment to be used for the conduct of interactive games;

(c) the licensee's procedures for recording and paying prizes won in interactive games;

(d) the licensee's procedures for using and maintaining surveillance and security facilities;

(e) the licensee's systems for transferring and accounting of money;

(f) the licensee's procedures for:

(i) dealing with players' complaints about games; and

(ii) conforming with the policies of financial bodies (for example, Mastercard and Visa); and

(iii) excluding players from playing interactive games; and

(iv) identifying and managing the problem gambling behaviour of players; and

(v) registering players;

(g) the licensee's general administrative systems and procedures;

(h) such other matters as the Regulator thinks relevant.

(3) A licensee that contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 50,000,000.

CHANGE OF CONTROL SYSTEM

21. (1) A licensee may apply to the Regulator to change its approved control system.

(2) The application must:

(a) be made in writing at least 60 days before the licensee proposes to start conducting interactive games under the approved control system as proposed to be changed; and

(b) contain particulars of the proposed changes to the licensee's approved control system.

(3) In deciding whether to approve the application, the Regulator must have regard to the matters referred to in subsection 20(2).

(4) The Regulator may, by written notice given to a licensee, direct the licensee to change the licensee's approved control system within the time, and in the way, stated in the notice.

(5) If the licensee does not comply with the direction, the approval for the licensee's control system is cancelled.

APPROVAL OF EQUIPMENT

22. (1) A licensee must obtain the Regulator's written approval for each item of interactive gaming equipment used by the licensee to conduct interactive games under its licence.

(2) A licensee must not install, modify, decommission, remove or destroy any such equipment without the written approval of the Regulator.

(3) Computer software does not have to be approved under this section if it has been approved under section 19.

(4) A licensee that contravenes subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 50,000,000.

FINANCIAL INSTITUTION ACCOUNTS

23. (1) A licensee must keep an account or accounts with a financial institution in Vanuatu that is licensed under the Financial Institutions Act No. 2 of 1999 for use for:

(a) all banking or similar transactions for the operations conducted under its licence; or

(b) such other purposes as are approved in writing by the Regulator.

(2) A licensee must use a financial institution account only for a purpose referred to in paragraph (1)(a) or for which the account is approved under paragraph (1)(b).

(3) A licensee that contravenes subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 50,000,000.

NOTIFICATION OF CHANGES

24. (1) A licensee must give the Regulator written notice of:

(a) a change in or addition to the licensee's close associates; or

(b) a reduction in the licensee's financial resources; or

(c) any change or addition to the persons who manage or operate the licensee's operations;

within 7 days after the change, addition or reduction occurs.

(2) A licensee that contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 10,000,000.

RECORDS

25. (1) A licensee must keep licensee's gambling records at a place approved by the Regulator in Vanuatu.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to an exempt gambling record prescribed by the regulations.

(3) A licensee must keep a gambling record for 5 years after the end of the transaction to which the record relates.

(4) A licensee that contravenes subsection (1) or (3) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 10,000,000.

SUBMISSION OF REPORTS

26. (1) A licensee must give reports to the Regulator about the licensee's operations under its licence.

(2) The Regulator is to specify, by notice in writing to the licensee, the information to be included in the reports.

(3) The reports must be in an approved form and be given at the times stated in the notice.

(4) A licensee must not include any information that is false or misleading in a material particular in a report.

(5) The Regulator may make information obtained under this section available to a law enforcement agency within or outside if the Regulator is satisfied on reasonable grounds that the information relates to an activity that is illegal within or outside Vanuatu.

(6) A licensee that contravenes subsection (3) or (4) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 20,000,000.

AUDIT

27. (1) As soon as practicable after the end of a financial year, a licensee must cause the books, accounts and financial statements for the operations conducted under its licence for the financial year to be audited by an auditor qualified for appointment in accordance with section 166 of the Companies Act [CAP 191] and approved by the Regulator.

(2) The auditor must:

(a) complete the audit within 3 months after the end of the financial year; and

(b) immediately after completion of the audit, give a copy of the audit report to the Regulator.

(3) Paragraph (2)(a) does not apply to the auditor if the Regulator is satisfied that in the circumstances it would be unreasonable to require the auditor to comply with the paragraph, and the auditor completes the audit as soon as practicable.

(4) On receiving an auditor's report, the Regulator may, by written notice given to the licensee, require the licensee to give the Regulator further information about a matter relating to the licensee's operations mentioned in the audit report.

(5) A licensee must comply with a requirement under subsection (4) within the time stated in the notice.

(6) An audit is to be undertaken at the licensee's own expense.

(7) A licensee that contravenes subsection (1) or (5) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 50,000,000.

SPECIAL AUDIT

28. (1) The Regulator may, by notice in writing to the licensee, require the licensee to cause the books, accounts and financial statements for the operations conducted under its licence to be audited for the period specified in the notice if the Regulator is satisfied that the licensee:

(a) may have insufficient financial, technical or other resources to conduct interactive games in accordance with its licence and the provisions of this Act; or

(b) may have undertaken fraudulent acts in conducting interactive games under its licence; or

(c) may have provided false or misleading reports under section 26.

(2) The audit must be undertaken at the licensee's own expense within the period specified in the notice by an auditor qualified for appointment in accordance with section 166 of the Companies Act [CAP 191] and approved by the Regulator.

(3) The auditor must give a copy of the report to the Regulator immediately after completing it.

(4) A licensee that contravenes subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 50,000,000.

INVESTIGATION OF LICENSEE

29. (1) The Regulator may, at any time, conduct the investigations and make the inquiries the Regulator considers to be necessary to enable him or her to determine whether a licensee:

(a) is a suitable person to continue to hold a licence; or

(b) is complying with the provisions of this Act, the regulations or the code.

(2) A licensee must pay to the Regulator the reasonable costs incurred by the Regulator in conducting any investigation and making any inquiry.

PART 4

INTERACTIVE GAMING TAX

LIABILITY TO TAX

30. (1) A tax ("interactive gaming tax") is imposed on the gross profit of the licensee's operations under its licence.

(2) Subject to subsection (3), interactive gaming tax is to be calculated and paid on a basis prescribed by the regulations.

(3) The rate of interactive gaming tax must not exceed 18 per cent of the licensee's gross profit.

(4) For the purposes of this section, the gross profit of a licensee's operations under its licence for a particular period is to be worked out using the following formula:

Gross profit = Amount played - Amount of winnings

where:

"Amount played" is the total amount received during that period by the licensee from those operations; and

"Amount of winnings" is the total amount paid out as prizes to players during that period by the licensee in respect of those operations.

PAYMENT AND RETURNS FOR CALCULATION OF TAX

31. (1) Interactive gaming tax is payable by the licensee on or before the last working day of each month ("the payment date") following the month in respect of which the gross profit was made.

(2) A licensee must provide to the Regulator the information needed for calculating interactive gaming tax on or before the payment date. The information must be provided in an approved form.

(3) A licensee that contravenes subsection (1) or (2) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 50,000,000.

PENALTY FOR LATE PAYMENT AND UNDERPAYMENT

32. (1) A licensee must pay to the Regulator a penalty on any amount of interactive gaming tax outstanding ("the unpaid amount") as at the end of the period allowed for the payment.

The penalty is:

(a) 10% of the unpaid amount; and

(b) a further 2% of the unpaid amount for each month or part of a month during which the unpaid amount is not paid.

(3) If any part of an underpayment of interactive gaming tax is due to fraud, there is to be added to the tax an amount equal to 3 times the underpayment.

RECOVERY OF AMOUNTS

33. An amount of interactive gaming tax and any penalty payable under this Part are debts due to the State by the licensee and may be recovered by the State by action in a court of competent jurisdiction.

PART 5

REGULATOR

FUNCTIONS AND POWERS OF REGULATOR

34. (1) The Director of Customs and Inland Revenue is the Regulator.

(2) The Regulator must:

(a) administer this Act; and

(b) process applications for licences made under section 4 and advise the Minister on such applications; and

(c) perform the other functions conferred on the Regulator by this or any other Act.

(3) The Regulator has power to do all things necessary or convenient to be done for or in connection with the performance of his or her functions.

(4) The Regulator must perform his or her functions in accordance with any general policy directions given by the Minister in writing. However, the Minister must not give directions that are inconsistent with this Act.

CODE OF PRACTICE

35. (1) The Regulator must prepare a code of practice for licensees.

(2) In preparing the code of practice; the Regulator must consult with all licensees.

(3) Without limiting the code of practice, it may provide for the following:

(a) the standards to be complied with by licensees conducting interactive games;

(b) the prizes in interactive games conducted by licensees;

(c) the payment of winnings by licensees to players;

(d) the way in which disputes between players and licensees are to be resolved.

(4) The code of practice is a regulation for the purposes of this Act.

(5) A licensee that contravenes a provision of the code of practice is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 50,000,000.

COMPLAINTS

36. (1) The Regulator must cause to be investigated any complaint made to the Regulator about a licensee's operations.

(2) However, the Regulator does not have to investigate a complaint if in his or her opinion the complaint is petty, frivolous or vexatious.

APPOINTMENT OF INSPECTORS

37. (1) The Regulator may appoint all or any of the following to be an inspector:

(a) a Customs officer; or

(b) any other person, including a person who is not a public servant, who has appropriate qualifications and expertise.

(2) An inspector has the following powers:

(a) to inspect, examine or test any interactive games or interactive gaming equipment used by a licensee in conducting operations under the licence;

(b) to require a person to produce documents or answer questions about such games or equipment;

(c) to enter any premises used by the licensee for conducting operations under its licence and seize:

(i) any such games or equipment; or

(ii) any other books, document or thing (including electronically stored information);

on those premises that the inspector considers will afford evidence of the commission of an offence against this Act.

(3) An inspector must obtain the consent of the owner or occupier of the premises to exercise the powers under paragraph (2)(c) or in the absence of consent must obtain a search warrant from a Magistrates Court.

(4) A magistrate must not issues a warrant unless he or she is satisfied by information on oath that:

(a) an offence against this Act has been or is being committed, or is likely to be committed, on the premises; and

(b) evidence of the commission, or likely commission, of the offence is likely to be found on the premises.

REPORTS

38. (1) The Regulator must, within 2 months after the end of each year, provide the Minister with a report relating to the Regulator's activities for that year.

(2) The Regulator must provide the Minister with any additional information he or she requires about a matter contained in a report.

(3) The Minister must table a copy of a report in the Parliament within 5 sitting days of an ordinary session after receiving the report.

DELEGATION OF FUNCTIONS AND POWERS

39. (1) The Regulator may, by instrument in writing, delegate all or any of his or her functions and powers under this Act to a Customs officer or any other officer or employee of the Customs Department.

(2) The delegation:

(a) may be made either generally or as otherwise provided by the instrument of delegation; and

(b) does not prevent the performance or exercise of the function or power so delegated by the Regulator.

CONTRACTING OUT SERVICES AND WORK

40. (1) The Regulator may enter into an agreement with a person with appropriate qualifications and expertise to provide services to, or to perform work for, the Regulator.

(2) The requirements set out in the Government Contracts and Tenders Act No. 10 of 1998 and the regulations made under that Act for the contracting out of services and work must be complied with before the Regulator enters into any agreement under subsection (1).

PART 6

MISCELLANEOUS

APPEAL RIGHTS

41. (1) A an applicant for a licence, or a licensee, as the case requires, may appeal to the Supreme Court against the following decisions of the Minister:

(a) to refuse to grant a licence under section 5;

(b) to impose conditions on any licence under section 8;

(c) to suspend or revoke a licence under section 11;

(d) to refuse to rescind the suspension of a licence under section 13;

(e) to refuse to renew a licence under section 15;

(f) to refuse the approval of a transfer of a licence under section 17;

(g) a decision prescribed by the regulations as a decision in respect of which an appeal can be made.

(2) An appeal must be made not more than 28 days after the date on which the appellant is notified of the decision appealed against or within such further period as the Supreme Court may allow.

(3) The Supreme Court may:

(a) confirm, reverse or modify the decision appealed against, and make such orders and give such directions as may be necessary to give effect to the Court's decision; or

(b) refer the matter back to the Minister with directions to reconsider the whole or any specified part of the matter.

CONFIDENTIALITY

42. (1) A person who is, or was, an inspector or employee or officer of the Department responsible for administering this Act must not disclose information obtained by the person in performing functions under this Act.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to the disclosure of information if the disclosure is:

(a) made for a purpose under this Act; or

(b) made under an approval of the Regulator given under this section; or

(c) authorised by any other Act or law, or an order of the Supreme Court.

(3) A person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence punishable on conviction by a fine not exceeding VT 2,000,000.

FORFEITURE

43. A court that finds a person guilty of an offence under this Act may order that any interactive gaming equipment or other item used, or intended to be used, by the person in the commission of the offence is forfeited to the State.

REGULATIONS

44. The Minister may make regulations not inconsistent with this Act for the better carrying out or to give effect to the provisions of this Act.

APPLICATION OF CERTAIN OTHER ACTS

45. (1) To avoid doubt, the Foreign Investment Act No. 15 of 1998 applies in relation to an applicant for a licence and a licensee.

(2) To avoid doubt, the Business Licence Act No. 19 of 1998 does not apply in relation to an applicant for a licence or a licensee.

COMMENCEMENT

46. This Act commences on the day on which it is published in the Gazette.

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