ALH Group Ordered to Pay $550,000 Fine for Failures to Minimise Gambling Harm

August 28, 2023 | Government

MELBOURNE, Vic. (August 25, 2023) — The Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH) has been fined $550,000 for operating 220 gaming machines without mandatory pre-commitment technology (YourPlay) installed, following a prosecution by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC).

The breaches by ALH, Australia’s largest operator of electronic gaming machines, were described as serious and wilful in the Magistrate’s ruling. On top of the fine, ALH was ordered to pay the VGCCC’s legal costs of $50,000.

In November 2022, the VGCCC charged ALH with 62 counts of failing to ensure YourPlay was properly installed on gaming machines across 62 of its 77 venues. YourPlay is the statewide pre-commitment scheme that empowers players to set time and loss limits and make informed decisions about their gambling. It is mandatory in Victoria for YourPlay to be available on all electronic gaming machines.

Given the role the YourPlay scheme plays in reducing gambling harm in Victoria, the VGCCC argued that the gravity and wilful nature of ALH’s contravention be considered a primary factor in sentencing.

The Magistrate noted that ALH’s early guilty plea and cooperation with the VGCCC were factors in reducing the fine from the maximum of $1.35 million.

VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt AM welcomed the verdict “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”.

Following an anonymous tip-off in late 2021, the VGCCC conducted an inspection blitz of ALH venues across Victoria, resulting in 220 non-compliant gaming machines being identified and turned off.

The VGCCC takes all information it receives from the public seriously. Members of the community who may be concerned about a gambling provider doing the wrong thing can communicate with the VGCCC directly via the ‘Tip-Off” page on our website.

SOURCE: Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC).

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