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Stoyan Todorov December 22, 2023 3 min read
VGCCC Fines AHL AU$460K, Pushing Total Fines to AU$1M in 2023
The VGCCC has fined Australian Leisure and hospitality Group (ALH) over the latter’s failure to comply with regulatory standards about the operation of electronic gaming machines (EGM).
The VGCCC has found evidence, the regulator stated, that ALH had operated EGMs at eight venues outside of the designated trading hours and had not complied with mandatory shutdowns, which take effect every 20 hours of gaming. A venue must be shut down for at least four hours.
VGCCC Steps in to Fine Offending Venues
As a result, the company has been struck with an AU$480,000 fine. According to the regulator, eight of the 76 venues that AHL is responsible for had failed to comply with VGCCC’s permitted hours of operation. The issue only relates to 15 EGM machines, and the period of the offenses varies from February 15, 2023, through May 25, 2023.
The venues operated by the company were named publicly in the regulator’s account of events, naming the First and Last Hotel, Croxton Park Hotel, Albion Charles Hotel, Berwick Inn Taverner, The Millers Inn Hotel, Village Green Hotel, and Elsternwick Hotel as the places where the unauthorized activity took place.
These seven venues mandated an AU$420,000 fine, with an eighth one, Boundary Taverner, adding AU$60,000 to the total penalty payable by ALH. This is not the first time regulators and ALH butted heads over matters of regulation.
In August this year, the company was also fined AU$550,000 for running 220 EGMs without implementing the mandatory YourPlay pre-commitment technology which is part of the state’s broader efforts to continually reduce gambling harm, minimize money laundering, and create a more transparent and accountable industry.
Australia as a whole has considerably upped the ante when it comes to matters of consumer protection with a new nationwide self-exclusion platform designed to protect players, which has already seen more than 13,000 people register.
Ongoing Commitment to Tackling Unregulated Gambling
This means that the total fines payable by ALH this year in Victoria alone are now more than AU$1 million. Commenting on the new fine, VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt said that the regulator was expecting all venues to demonstrate a high level of ethics and commitment to the set regulatory standards.
“Ensuring patrons take breaks and are not exposed to extended, continuous periods of play is critical to the responsible service of gambling,” Kimmitt added, arguing that the VGCCC will not flag in its determination to keep close tabs on the industry and issue enforcement action where and if appropriate.
The VGCCC has gone after offenders this year, including the Tower Hotel which was cited to have breached responsible gambling standards. Similarly, another venue was named in a case that had to do with breaching consumer protection standards by allowing – although unintentionally – a 16-year-old patron with considerable gambling debt to play at the venue.