Australia: Licensee prosecuted for breaching gaming machines regulation

The licensee of Vbar, an inner Sydney venue, has faced prosecution under the Gaming Machines Regulation 2019 for breaching gaming harm minimisation measures.

The Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade issued a stern warning to licensed venues to adhere to regulations after inspectors from Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&GNSW) found an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) placed in an ‘ATM room’ attached to the gaming room.

The Local Court ordered the licensee to pay AU$5,500 ($3,701) in prosecutor's costs after determining that the ATM was in the same part of the hotel as the gaming machines.

The breach was highlighted by the large ‘ATM’ text displayed across the door leading to this room, visible from the gaming room side.

This follows an intensified enforcement response by L&GNSW in 2023, resulting in 16 penalty notices and 13 prosecutions for ATM location breaches.

L&GNSW's Executive Director of Regulatory Operations, Jane Lin, said: “The position of the ATM was a clear breach of the Gaming Machines Regulation 2019, which stipulates that a licensee must not permit a cash dispensing facility to be located in a part of a hotel or a club premises in which approved gaming machines are located.”

Lin further added: “ATMs must be located in a part of the venue completely separate to gaming rooms or any other part of a venue where gaming machines are located,Online Casino Games for Real Money even if the internal design or fit-out of the room acts to screen the ATM.

"This is important because having such ready access to cash withdrawals can make it easier for gamblers to lose track of what they are spending, while locating ATMs further away from gaming machines can encourage them to have a break in play."

In an effort to curb gambling advertising violations on 18 January 2024, L&GNSW has also taken action against SportChamps, a Sydney-based operator fined AU$17,500 for inducing individuals to gamble through website and Facebook advertisements. This marks the sixth conviction for similar offences, with SportChamps repeatedly breaching gambling advertising laws since 2017. 

L&GNSW's ongoing crackdown on illegal gambling advertisements involves a new fine structure, with maximum penalties of AU$110,000 for companies and AU$11,000 for individuals publishing prohibited gambling ads.

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