The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) announced that it issued an AUD 550,000 ($353,540 in USD) fine to the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH). According to the regulator, the gambling company had operated 220 gaming machines without mandatory pre-commitment technology (YourPlay) installed, violating Victoria’s gambling laws.
In addition to paying the fine, the operator will also be required to cover the legal costs of AUD 50,000 ($32,000).
For reference, YourPlay is the statewide pre-commitment scheme that allows players to set limits and moderate their playtime and spending. All electronic machines in the state are required to employ the scheme in order to protect players from gambling harm.
As noted by the VGCCC, ALH’s breach is a “serious and willful” one. The regulator slammed the operator for allegedly not installing YourPlay on purpose. While the gravity of ALH’s breach led to a fairly big fine, the operator’s guilty plea helped it avoid the maximum fine of AUD 1.35 million ($870,000). The regulator also acknowledged ALH’s cooperativeness with the investigation.
VGCCC Asked Operators to Be Responsible
In an official statement, Annette Kimmitt, the chief executive officer of the VGCCC, praised the final verdict. She said that the outcome highlights the regulator’s commitment to protecting the Victorian market from the harmful opportunism and deliberate contraventions of gambling companies.
Kimmitt said that gambling companies should be responsible and wary of the negative impact their negligence can have on the market.
Gambling providers need to pay close attention to their obligations because the consequences for getting it wrong can be significant.
Annette Kimmitt, CEO, VGCCC
The fine concludes a months-long saga that saw the VGCCC probe ALH’s venues across the state. Thanks to an anonymous tip-off, the regulator launched an investigation and learned that a total of 220 machines across many of ALH’s properties did not have the YourPlay scheme installed.
The machines are now identified and turned off.
The VGCCC noted that this example proves that it takes public reports very seriously. The authority urged Victorian gamblers to communicate their concerns to the VGCCC through its official website.
In the meantime, Australia’s Communications and Media Authority continues its crackdown on offshore websites as Australia seeks to protect its customers from gambling harm and sites that lack sufficient player protections.