Alh Facing 63 Charges For Failing to Protect Players

Australian governments have been actively pursuing and prosecuting live casinos in recent years. Now a pokies operator has fallen into hot water. According to various reports late last week, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) is levying 62 charges against the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH).

The majority of the charges stem from the ALH operating pokies that failed to have mandatory pre-commitment software installed. The organization is looking at some steep fines for failure to offer this software, with total penalties possibly exceeding $1.35 million.

ALH Facing Charges For Failing to Offer YourPlay on Machines

On Friday, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission announced they are filing charges against the Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group. The organization plans to levy 62 charges for operating gaming machines that did not have YourPlay installed. YourPlay is a software that allows players to set spending and time limits on machines. This will enable players to control their play and helps them avoid problem gambling.

An announcement from the VGCCC alleges that the ALH operated 220 machines for around 5 weeks without the YourPlay software installed. All pokies in Victoria must display the YourPlay display. This gives players control over their play at all venues in Victoria.

The VLCCC was alerted to the problem in December 2021 when an anonymous tip was left. Afterward, inspectors from the VGCCC visited venues in Cheltenham, Hallam, Laverton, Mulgrave, Narre Warren, and Sandringham to verify if breaches occurred.

Once the inspectors completed their investigation, the ALH shut down all 220 non-compliant pokie machines. The company and an ALH executive are facing charges related to “Failing to ensure mandatory player equipment was installed under the Gambling Regulation Act 2003.”

Fines Could Reach a Maximum of $1.35 Million

If ALH breaches were limited to a couple of venues, this might not have been as big of a story. However, there were non-compliant machines in 62 of the 77 venues under ALH’s pervue. This forced the VGCCC’s hand.

According to VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt AM, “We have decided to prosecute ALH as the alleged breaches constituted serious and significant non-compliance across 80 per cent of all ALH’s Victorian venues.

Anyone who holds a gambling licence in Victoria is on notice that they must, at a minimum, comply with their legal obligations to protect patrons from gambling harm. Having YourPlay installed and available on electronic gaming machines is a mandatory requirement to support safer gambling.”

Endeavour Groups Commits to Improving Oversight

Endeavour Group, the company in charge of ALH, spoke on the incident. They stated that they “concluded this was an isolated but regrettable case of process and communication failure in our internal supply chain.” Supposedly, the 220 non-compliant machines were part of a group of machines that were delayed by pandemic closures.

He further commented that all Victoria machines now show the YourPlay option. “We are committed to doing all we can to ensure it does not happen again,” says the company. However, the damage is already done, and the organization faces steep fines.

According to the VGCCC, ALH is facing fines that could reach a maximum of $1.35 million. These fines may be quite steep, but the regulations surrounding pokies and gambling machines are clear. It seems odd that neither the company nor anyone working at the venues noticed the missing YourPlay software. However, there’s no doubt that the company will not make such an oversight in the future.

The YourPlay system is optional for players but is a requirement under Victorian law. It is unclear how many players use the software, but it is there if they need it.

Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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