Victorian regulator cracks whip on underage

January 17, 2024
Clyde Mooney

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has continued its crackdown on underage gambling, fining a suburban RSL and ordering gaming giant Tabcorp to make terminals cashless.

Following a tip-off from a member of the public, Altona RSL, in south-west Melbourne, was charged by the VGCCC in August 2023.

The charges related to allowing a 16-year-old to enter a gaming machine area, in September 2022, and gamble for 10 minutes.

The matter was heard in December at Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, where the RSL was found guilty and ordered pay a total of $8,160, being a fine of $4,000 and $4,160 in legal costs.

It was noted that the fine would have been higher, except that the club pleaded guilty and had taken proactive steps to prevent recurrence.

“We will continue to pursue venues that contravene their responsibilities to stop minors from gambling,” offered VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt AM, welcoming the verdict.

“This outcome puts smaller operators on notice that they are not above being held to account.” 

Separately, the state regulator issued a statewide direction that from late January 2024 Tabcorp’s betting terminals must not accept cash bets – unless they are within five metres and in the line of sight of the counter.

This means around 70 per cent of Tabcorp’s 1,800 Electronic Betting Terminals across Victoria will change to only accept vouchers, which must be purchased at the counter by patrons, where they will be subject to ID checking.

Tabcorp must also implement an independent ‘mystery shopper’ program to ensure venues are appropriately checking ID.

Failure to comply with the new requirements will result in an escalating series of penalties for venues.

Over the past eight months the VGCCC has charged Tabcorp, along with nine venues, for offences related to allegedly allowing a minor to gamble in breach of the Gambling Regulation Act 2003:

  • allowing a minor within a gaming machine area
  • allowing a minor to gamble, and
  • failing to reasonably supervise Electronic Betting Terminals

Another tipoff from a member of the public led to many of the charges. In August ALH, Australia’s largest pub operator, was prosecuted and fined $550k for operating 220 EGMs without Vicotria’s mandatory pre-commitment technology (YourPlay) installed.

Charges against Tabcorp and the venues refer to incidents between 8 September 2022 and 20 October 2023. Tabcorp faces a total of 72 charges.

“Venue staff are the first line of defence in protecting minors from gambling,” furthers Kimmitt.

“We have taken decisive measures where they have failed to take their responsibilities seriously”. 

The VGCCC reminds venues they must have sufficient staff on hand to deal with the increased patronage of the holiday and summer season, and that anyone who looks under 25 should be asked for ID.

Image: Google maps

Tags

Altona RSL, Tabcorp, underage gambling, VGCCC


You may also like

Hellenic Club pulls plug on PHG

Hellenic Club pulls plug on PHG
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to our newsletter now!