Following a prosecution by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH) has received a $550,000 for failures to minimise gambling harm.

ALH, Australia’s largest operator of electronic gaming machines, was fined for operating 220 gaming machines without mandatory pre-commitment technology (YourPlay) installed. YourPlay is the statewide pre-commitment scheme which allows players to set time and loss limits, enabling them to make informed decisions about their gambling. Installation of YourPlay is mandatory for all electronic gaming machines in Victoria.

Following an anonymous tip-off in late 2021, the VGCCC inspected venues across Victoria, identifying and turning off 220 non-compliant gaming machines. In November 2022, ALH was charged with 62 counts of failing to ensure YourPlay was properly installed on machines in 62 of its 77 venues.

“Further to our statement on 18 November 2022 acknowledging the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) proceedings, Endeavour Group Limited can confirm that Australian Leisure and Hospitality (ALH) appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Thursday,” an Endeavour Group spokesperson said.

“We have acknowledged our shortcomings on this serious matter and have taken steps to seek to improve our compliance management. We will continue to work constructively with the VGCCC,” the spokesperson added.

The Magistrate’s ruling described the breaches as serious and wilful, which the VGCCC argued should be a primary factor when considering ALH’s sentencing, especially due to the importance of the YourPlay scheme is reducing gambling-related harm.

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. On top of the fine, ALH was ordered to pay the VGCCC’s legal costs of $50,000.

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,” Kimmitt concluded.

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