The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has fined the former owner of the Rye Hotel $80,000 after gambling integrity breaches, and the owner undertook to sell the business and exit the gambling industry.

The VGCCC confirmed to The Shout that the fine was issued to Myndit Pty Ltd, the business which owns the hotel. In addition to the fine, Myndit owner Peter Houghton, whose family had owned the Rye Hotel since 1954, made an undertaking to the VGCCC during the disciplinary process to sell the business and leave the industry. The Commission accepted this undertaking, which has subsequently become binding through Section 10.4A.9 of the Gambling Regulation Act 2003.

Over the last 12 months Endeavour Group has been trying to acquire the hotel, made easier in December when the ACCC announced that it would not oppose the acquisition. The acquisition has not yet been completed.

The two incidents occurred in February 2022 and in March 2023, with the VGCCC saying that in the first incident “senior staff at the Rye Hotel falsified records to cover up an erroneous cash payment of $2039 to a patron”.

The Commission added: “Venues are required to pay any winnings over $2,000 by cheque or EFT. The attempted cover up of the breach constitutes serious integrity failings and misconduct.”

In the second incident the venue issued a cheque to an ineligible person at the request of a winning patron who could not produce ID to collect their winnings.

The VGCCC said: “Venues are required to ensure they only process payments to the person playing the electronic gaming machine and ensure the appropriate identity checks are undertaken.”

VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt AM said this decision sends a clear message to the industry about compliance with integrity measures.

“Venue operators and owners need to understand the full extent of consequences for falsifying records and concealing misconduct,” Kimmitt said. 

“We know that honest mistakes happen. However, venue operators that attempt to cover up breaches will be caught and face serious repercussions.”

The VGCCC launched an investigation after receiving a complaint from a member of the public. Matters can be reported to the VGCCC on 1300 599 759 or through the VGCCC complaints and tip-offs page.  

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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