Fines for Multiple Violations
ALH, which is the largest operator of EGMs in Victoria, was fined a total of $480,000 by the VGCCC. This fine was levied due to the operation of EGMs at eight venues outside of the nominated trading hours, in breach of the mandatory shutdown periods set by the regulatory body. The venues in question include the First and Last Hotel, Croxton Park Hotel, Albion Charles Hotel, Berwick Inn Taverner, The Millers Inn Hotel, Village Green Hotel, and Elsternwick Hotel, which collectively resulted in a fine of $420,000.
An additional fine of $60,000 was imposed on the Boundary Taverner for similar violations. These fines stem from incidents that occurred between February 15 and April 21, 2023, and are part of the VGCCC’s broader effort to enforce responsible gambling practices in Victoria.
Earlier Breaches & Preventative Measures
This is not the first instance of ALH being fined for non-compliance. In August 2023, the group faced a $550,000 fine for operating 220 gaming machines without the mandatory pre-commitment technology, YourPlay, installed. This technology is a crucial component in the fight against problem gambling, as it allows players to set limits on their gaming time and losses.
The failure to install YourPlay was detected at 62 of ALH’s 77 properties. The fine was reduced due to the company’s early guilty plea and ongoing cooperation throughout the prosecution process.
Emphasis on Responsible Gambling
The actions taken by the VGCCC are indicative of a larger trend in Australia towards responsible gambling. Both Victoria and New South Wales are taking proactive steps to minimise gambling harm, reflecting a growing emphasis on responsible gambling practices across the country. These enforcement actions, along with proposed reforms in NSW, demonstrate the legislators’ determination to prioritise responsible gambling.
The VGCCC’s approach, including fines and enforcement actions, aims to discourage similar violations by other venues and to ensure that pokie machine operations comply with regulatory standards. The hope is that such measures will contribute to a safer and more responsible gambling environment in Victoria.
This comprehensive approach by the VGCCC underscores the importance of adherence to gambling regulations and the ongoing effort to protect the community from gambling harm. It serves as a reminder to all gaming operators of the significant consequences of non-compliance with gambling laws and regulations.