Victoria steps up enforcement crusade as Tower Hotel faces A$1.3m fine

Rumotel, the Tower Hotel operator, has once again come under the spotlight of the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission for allegedly breaching its responsible gambling code of conduct.

A second failure in quick succession has seen an additional three charges be levelled against the venue, as the state regulator continues to clamp down on licensees.

It is alleged Tower Hotel failed to ensure a responsible gambling officer was available at all times on the gaming floor, in addition to not properly maintaining an appropriate register. 

Under the aforementioned code of conduct, establishments must ensure that RG officers are always present during gaming room operating hours. Interventions must occur where patrons display signs of distress or engage in extended play and these incidents must be recorded.

Furthermore, a failure to implement a responsible gambling code of conduct is a breach of the venue operator’s licence conditions under the Gambling Regulation Act 2003.

These charges could result in a fine of approximately A$1.3m, which would surpass the A$1m penalty issued to Tabcorp in early September.

“Just as you wouldn’t operate a public swimming pool without a lifeguard, venues are required to continuously monitor their gaming floors and intervene whenever the welfare of players is at risk,” Annette Kimmitt, VGCCC CEO.

“The VGCCC will continue to pursue venues that deliberately fail to apply their responsible gambling code of conducts in full.”

Catalogue of errors

Just last month, the VGCCC brought 35 charges against the same operator, with the regulator claiming that Tower Hotel did not ensure that staff had completed compulsory training. The YourPlay mandatory pre-commitment technology was also not functioning on their electronic gaming machines and kiosks.

YourPlay is a pre-commitment scheme that allows players to set time and spend limits to stay in control of their play. Despite being optional for players, it is mandatory for venues to have it installed and available on all EGMs.

It was said that these 35 charges could attract a maximum fine of A$758,172. This could mean Tower Hill could face a maximum fine of A$2,145,072 for the combined 38 allegations.

Victoria stacking up financial penalties

Should the maximum fine be imposed of Tower Hill for these three new breaches, it would surpass the A$1m penalty that was recently imposed on Tabcorp, the largest received by the company within the state, for a major system outage during the 2020 Spring Racing Carnival.

This reflected a failure to comply with directions to provide information concerning the issue, which left the group’s wagering and betting system unavailable for around 36 hours.

In addition, Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group was recently fined A$550,000 for operating 220 gaming machines without the installation of a mandatory YourPlay pre-commitment technology.

Further regulatory action within the state has also hit BlueBet, which was found to have illegally displayed advertisements.