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ALH Fined AU$550,000 for Breaching Gambling Harm Regulations in Victoria

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The Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH) has been fined AU$550,000 by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) for contravening state laws on gambling control. The fines come following a thorough examination of ALH’s compliance with mandatory requirements.

VGCCC Investigation Uncovers Deliberate Breaches

Prompted by an anonymous tip-off towards the end of 2021, the VGCCC began an inspection of multiple ALH venues throughout Victoria. The regulator’s inspection revealed 220 gaming machines operating without the mandatory YourPlay pre-commitment technology installed.

Under Victoria’s state laws, all licensees running gaming machines must incorporate YourPlay into their terminals. This technology enables players in Victoria to set constraints on the time or money they spend and helps them to monitor their machine play.

Related: Eight Venues Face Consequences in Victoria Following EGM Breach

In November 2022, the VGCCC proceeded to charge ALH, Australia’s largest operator of gaming machines, with 62 counts relating to failure to ensure the proper installation of YourPlay on gaming machines across 62 of its 77 venues.

At a Magistrate’s court, the VGCCC stressed the willful and severe nature of ALH’s violations, insisting that these should be a primary consideration in sentencing. Additionally, the regulator underscored the importance of the YourPlay scheme in strengthening responsible gambling in Victoria.

Upon reviewing the case, the Magistrate concurred that the breaches were indeed serious and intentional. ALH was consequently slapped with the $550,000 fine, alongside an order to pay VGCCC’s legal expenses of $50,000.

Court Acknowledges ALH’s Guilty Plea

The court also acknowledged ALH’s early guilty plea and its cooperation with the VGCCC, citing these as factors that led to a reduction in the fine from the maximum of $1.35 million.

This outcome demonstrates the VGCCC’s commitment to pursuing those operators who opportunistically or deliberately contravene their obligations to protect the community from gambling harm.” She further warned, “Gambling providers need to pay close attention to their obligations because the consequences for getting it wrong can be significant.

Annette KimmittCEO of VGCCC

Continued Focus on Regulatory Breaches in Victoria

ALH is merely the latest in a series of operators to come under regulatory scrutiny in Victoria. Earlier this week, the VGCCC charged BlueBet for infringements of state advertising rules, exposing the operator to a potential fine of up to AU$945,187.

These charges are related to BlueBet’s display of three gambling advertisements on billboards in Victoria within a two-week period last year. According to the VGCCC, this constituted a violation of state laws prohibiting static gambling ads in specific locations.

The banned sites encompass public transport infrastructure, areas within 150 meters of a school’s boundary, and on or above public roads, road infrastructure, or road reserves.

This ongoing focus on adherence to gambling regulations demonstrates the determination of the Victorian authorities to clamp down on any breaches, underscoring the importance of compliance in protecting the community from potential harm associated with gambling.

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