The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission has clamped down on a pair of operators that were found to be “ repeatedly” allowing access to electronic gaming machines outside of permitted hours.
The regulator identified breaches in eight gaming venues, which were found to be non-compliant with a requirement to only permit access to EGM spaces within hours specified within liquor licences. A continuous four hour break must also be implemented every 24 hours.
As a result, show cause notices have been issued, with potential penalties including licence suspension or cancellation, a change of conditions or fines. Operators have a 28 day period to explain to the VGCCC why such disciplinary action should not be taken.
The shortcomings were discovered through ongoing monitoring of EGM data, which track a number of compliance indicators.
This include play occurring outside permitted hours of operation, a lack of connection to the YourPlay pre-commitment system and irregular activity that it is said could be “suggestive of money laundering”.
“Venue operators should know by now that we will not tolerate failure to provide gambling services responsibly,” said Annette Kimmitt, VGCCC CEO.
“Venue operators are on notice to ensure they observe the trading hours for their electronic gaming machines as noted on their licences. These notices are a warning to venue operators all over Victoria that we are monitoring data from their electronic gaming machines and will uncover breaches.”
In addition, monitoring has also identified seven metropolitan local government areas where 24-hour gambling is available due to the staggered closing times adopted by venues.
“Additionally, the use of staggered closing times has resulted in a third of all LGAs in Victoria providing access to gambling for more than 22 hours a day,” the VGCCC said.
As a result, the authority has welcomed a series of gambling harm minimisation measures that are set to be introduced as part of a fresh raft of reforms targeting EGMs.
Among these are mandatory pre-commitment load-up limits, which will be dropped from the current $1,000 limit to $100, and carded play, in a bid to cut money laundering through Victoria’s gaming venues.
In addition, by mid-2024 obligatory closure periods for all gaming machine areas, except those in a casino, will be enforced between 4am and 10am.
Pokies will also be subjected to a three second spin rate, while the government “will keep pace” with emerging technologies.