The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission issued the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group a penalty of $550,000 for not having the required pre-commitment technology in their electronic gaming machines (pokies). The amount of fines imposed by gambling authorities around the world this year is overwhelmingly due to penalties given out to casinos in Australia. This event has added significantly to that number.
Following an anonymous tip-off received in late 2021, the VGCCC initiated a thorough investigation into ALH venues all over the state. In an incredible discovery, 220 gaming machines were identified without YourPlay pre-commitment features. The VGCCC immediately took action, and these devices were disabled. In November 2022, ALH was formally accused of 62 transgressions across 77 different sites by VGCCC.
The gambling laws in Victoria are very explicit that all gambling machines must be installed with YourPlay technology. The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VGCCC) emphasized how clear the requirement was and how easy it was to understand by the responsible operator. However, based on ALH’s prompt admission of guilt and cooperation throughout the proceedings, a magistrate determined they had willfully violated these laws, resulting in severe consequences.
As a consequence of this judgment, ALH will be liable to pay a penalty of AU$ 500,000 along with an extra AU$ 50,000 for any legal costs associated.
According to the gambling news, VGCCC’s CEO, Annette Kimmitt AM, said, “This verdict underscores our commitment to pursue operators who are knowingly or opportunistically flouting their responsibilities.” As the repercussions of transgressions can be substantial, gambling service providers must adhere to their obligations carefully.”
Immediately after it was revealed that VGCCC had filed charges against BlueBet for displaying illegal gambling ads on billboards in Victoria, the authority also initiated a legal process against eight gaming venues in July. These organizations were accused of working outside permissible hours and not having YourPlay technology installed on some machines.
As 2023 moves forward, gambling regulatory organizations worldwide have imposed a record-breaking amount of US$390,170,226 in fines and penalties. Australia is one of the biggest contributors to this sum, making up an impressive US$390,166,053 of total fines and other sanctions.
The severity of the action taken by the VGCCC shows that governments are serious about enforcing laws related to gambling, and it should alert operators in this sector to meet their obligations or face serious consequences. This incident highlights a global trend towards greater regulation and stricter enforcement within the gambling industry.