IGT Payment to Australian Regulators refunded
By Paul
A controversial payment made by slot machine manufacturer International Game Technology (IGT) to help pay for an investigation of the same company by Australian gaming regulators will be refunded to the Nevada company, according to a report in the Australian Herald-Sun newspaper.

The Office of Gaming Regulation in the state of Victoria, Australia, accepted a payment of $200,000 after probing allegations of fraud against Reno-based IGT's European arm. The investigation, launched in 1998 after IGT reported it to regulators, has closed without the company being fined, IGT representatives said.

A government watchdog agency investigating the payment says that the payment should not have been accepted. Victorian Ombudsman Barry Perry alleges that the payment could have produced influenced the outcome for IGT.

IGT was asked to help fund the investigation and has not been a party to the subsequent dispute in Australia about how the payment was handled by regulators, IGT Vice President of Marketing Ed Rogich said Friday.

The Victorian government is now conducting a review of the state's gaming laws that could lead to a repeal of the practice in which gaming companies help pay for government investigations into their business practices, according to Australian news reports.

In Nevada, as in other gaming jurisdictions, licensees must pay for initial background checks as well as subsequent business investigations.

'As a licensee, we will abide by whatever direction they establish,' Rogich said of the Victorian government's review.

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