Pyramid gaming to cease

AFTER years of legal wrangling, a pyramid gaming scheme has finally collapsed.

The Commissioner of Consumer Affairs yesterday won a permanent injunction against the directors of the schemes, Concorde and Golden Galaxy Pty Ltd. In the Supreme Court, Justice Brian Martin ordered the company’s three directors to permanently cease promoting or distributing any material concerning the games.

He also ordered the directors, Joseph Poole-Blunden, 56, of Ballarat, Herman Fabricius, 63, of Reynella, and 53-year-old Lourdes Jones, also of Reynella, pay the costs of Hamish Gilmore, the former commissioner who launched the action.

Concorde and its internet counterpart, Golden Galaxy, began in March, 1997, and ended two months later when police seized the related computer software. The game, which is based on a plane, features four rungs – a pilot, two co-pilots, four crew, and eight passengers. Players pay money to enter as a passenger, and as new players enter the game the original entrants move up the ladder until, as pilots, they receive a payout several times their entry fee.

In May, 1998, the three directors faced trial in the Adelaide Magistrates Court on charges they illegally promoted the schemes.

Two months later, Magistrate Kevin Rogers ruled that although the schemes were illegal the directors were not criminally liable and the charges against them were dismissed.

He said they had made a “reasonable mistake” by acting on advice from lawyers that the game was legal.

Mr Gilmore appealed to the Full Court of the Supreme Court against the dismissal of the charges. But in May, 1999, the Full Court ruled in favour of the magistrate.

Mr Gilmore then applied to the Supreme Court to have a permanent injunction on the directors and the operation of the schemes.

Justice Martin yesterday agreed the schemes contravened the Fair Trading Act. “I order that the respondents do not in anyway, howsoever, directly or indirectly publish, distribute, promote or advertise on the Internet . . . the Golden Galaxy, Concorde or similar games,” he said.

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