Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH) was fined $550,000 after the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) prosecuted the major electronic gaming machine operator for breaching the state rules on gambling control. According to VGCCC’s press release, the ALH’s 220 gaming machines were found to lack the YourPlay control technology feature which installation is required by law.
$500,000 Fine For Breach:
ALH is the largest operator of electronic gaming machines in Australia, which adds weight to the breach described by Magistrate’s ruling as serious and wilful. As stated in the press release, the authority additionally ordered ALH to pay $50,000 to the VGCCC for the regulator’s costs of the prosecution process.
Failure Detected at 62 Facilities:
As reported, the fine for the failure to have the gaming technology feature properly installed in the gambling machines is the result of the operator’s breach from November 2022 when the VGCCC detected the lack of the YourPlay technology items at 62 of the company’s 77 properties. YourPlay, the state-wide gaming control feature, is required by law to be integrated with each electronic gaming machine. According to the regulator, the scheme is supposed to help players manage their time and loss limits and keep their gambling behavior under control.
Missing Mandatory ”YourPlay” Feature:
The gambling control vehicle thus helps the establishment of the player responsible gambling behavior and reduces gambling harm in Victoria. As such a scheme was lacking in 220 gaming machines across 62 operator’s properties, the VGCCC referred to the respective ALH’s failures as ”grave and wilful”, which was reportedly considered a primary factor for the verdict.
Fine Reduced on Cooperation Grounds:
The Magistrate reportedly took into account the fact that the operator plead guilty at the early stage of the prosecution to continue to cooperate throughout the process. For this reason, the maximum fine of $1.35 million was reduced to $500,000 for the breach, according to the press release.
The VGCCC reportedly welcomed the verdict, with its CEO Annette Kimmitt AM stating: “This outcome demonstrates the VGCCC’s commitment to pursuing those operators who opportunistically or deliberately contravene their obligations to protect the community from gambling harm. Gambling providers need to pay close attention to their obligations because the consequences for getting it wrong can be significant”.
The November 2022 breach was detected after the VGCCC carried out an urgent inspection of ALH’s casinos across Victoria following an anonymous tip via via the ‘Tip-Off’ page on the regulator’s website . As reported, the inspection found that 220 gaming machines were non-compliant and therefore shut down.
Pending Gambling Reforms:
The charges pressed by the regulator and the fine imposed to ALH follow the recent VGCCC’s charge against BlueBet for breaching state rules for advertising. BlueBet is now reportedly facing a fine of almost AU$ 1 miilion, which testifies about the regulator’s commitment to compliant gambling operations ahead of the industry reforms pending for approval in Victoria.