By James Atkinson
Victoria's gambling regulator has confirmed it is begun an investigation into a pub owned by Bruce Mathieson that has been linked with alleged money laundering activities.
The Australian newspaper claimed a 56-year-old pensioner and his family repeatedly paid cash for the winning tickets of genuine punters at Melbourne's Westend Market Hotel before claiming the funds as their own.
The article alleged the pub's staff were told to turn a blind eye to the practice, under which 326 winning tickets worth $632,396.67 were claimed from the pub between March and August this year.
A spokeswoman for the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation Commission said the organisation had commenced an investigation into the matters raised prior to the article's publication.
"We visited the venue and are currently assessing material to ascertain whether there has been a breach of gambling laws," she said.
"We are also looking into the alleged behaviour of the venue and its staff, particularly in relation to their responsible gambling obligations."
"The requirement to pay winnings greater than $1,000 by cheque is designed to protect the consumer by reducing the risk of cash being immediately put back into gaming machines."
"Where our investigations identify matters outside the Commission's jurisdiction, such as fraud or money laundering, they will be referred to the relevant law enforcement agency."
The Westend Market Hotel is understood to be privately owned by Bruce Mathieson but operated by ALH Group.
ALH representatives declined to comment.