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Tabcorp Fined $1M for Not Complying with VGCCC Directions

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The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has fined Tabcorp Wagering (VIC) Pty Ltd $1 million for not complying with two Commission directions issued during its investigation of Tabcorp’s major system outage in the 2020 Spring Racing Carnival.

The scale of the fine, the largest ever imposed by the Commission on Tabcorp, reflects Tabcorp’s repeated failure to comply with Commission directions to provide information concerning the outage, which left Tabcorp’s Wagering and Betting System (WBS) unavailable for approximately 36 hours.

Commission Chair Fran Thorn said Tabcorp’s conduct was unacceptable. “We will not tolerate licensees that are not forthcoming and cooperative when the Commission investigates.

“The Commission had to use its compulsory powers and issue directions because Tabcorp did not provide the information we required about the business continuity and disaster recovery capability of its systems. It is Tabcorp’s failure to comply with these directions that has led to the fine announced today.

“All entities we regulate — no matter how big or small — have an obligation to be open and honest with the Commission and responsive to its lawfully issued directions. We will not tolerate attempts to frustrate our investigations.”

On Saturday 7 November 2020, Tabcorp’s WBS suffered a major outage. There is an obligation under the Wagering and Betting Licence and Agreement for the WBS to be continuously available. As a result, the VGCCC’s predecessor – the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation – commenced investigating the outage.

The directions were issued after Tabcorp failed to voluntarily provide adequate information about the outage to the regulator. Tabcorp’s conduct during its dealings with the VGCCC over the course of the investigation and in response to the directions impacted the Commission’s ability to understand the cause of the major outage and gain confidence that it would not recur.

The Commission found Tabcorp did not comply with the first direction because it failed to produce a response that — in either form or substance — confirmed the WBS business continuity and disaster recovery arrangements established after the outage were “fit for purpose” to deliver the “continuously available” performance requirement. Tabcorp was found to have failed to comply with the second direction by submitting a compliant report four months after the deadline.

The maximum penalty for contravening Commission directions is $9,087,000.

Australia

Star Entertainment Announces Jobs Guarantee & Cashless Gaming Trial Agreements in NSW

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The Star Entertainment Group Limited (The Star) announced that it has entered into binding documentation to give effect to the previously announced aspects of the arrangements agreed in principle with the NSW Treasurer, The Honourable Daniel Mookhey MLC, in connection with the revised duty arrangements in NSW, namely a jobs commitment and the cashless and carded play trial in respect of The Star Sydney casino.

NSW Jobs Guarantee

Consistent with the in-principle agreement first announced on 11 August 2023, The Star has entered into a Jobs Guarantee Agreement with the State of NSW and the United Workers Union whereby The Star has agreed to maintain a minimum headcount, and certain ratios of full-time, part-time and casual employees, in respect of The Star Sydney casino until 30 June 2030. The jobs commitment is subject to certain permitted adjustments in certain circumstances (including for force majeure and material adverse change events) following consultation with the NSW government and the United Workers Union.

Following amendments to the Casino Control Act 1992 (NSW) in December 2023, certain penalties can apply to The Star for failing to comply with the jobs commitment. A copy of the Jobs Guarantee Agreement must be tabled in NSW Parliament within 10 business days following entry into the agreement.

Cashless and Carded Play Trial

The Star has also entered into documentation to give effect to a formal trial of cashless and carded play at The Star Sydney casino.

The trial is a precursor to reforms to the NSW regulatory framework which will see cashless gaming and carded play introduced to NSW casinos from August 2024.

Subject to the receipt of final regulatory approvals, the trial will apply to 51 poker machines and 8 table games within the “Sovereign Room” at The Star Sydney casino until the regulatory framework comes into effect.

The Star’s Group CEO and Managing Director, Robbie Cooke, said: “The Star appreciates the constructive engagement with the current NSW Government that has led to finalisation of an agreement that provides employment certainty for our dedicated and hard-working team members in Sydney. As we continue to focus on earning back the trust of the community and implementing the reforms required to restore The Star to suitability, we are also committed to the continuation of our role as a valuable contributor to the NSW economy.”

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Australia

ACMA Blocks More Illegal Gambling Websites

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has requested the Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block 12 more illegal gambling websites, after investigations found these services to be operating in breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

The latest sites blocked are Playzilla, Wazamba, Zet Casino, Slots Palace, Nomini, Casinia, SG Casino, Fez Bet, Buran Casino, Spin Better, Golden Bet and Clash.gg.

Website blocking is one of a range of enforcement options to protect Australians against illegal gambling services. This action can be taken if a service is:

  • providing prohibited interactive gambling services to customers in Australia (such as online casinos, online slot machines and services that allow in-play online sports betting)
  • providing an unlicensed regulated interactive gambling service to customers in Australia (such as online betting services that don’t have a valid Australian licence)
  • publishing ads for prohibited interactive gambling services or unlicensed regulated interactive gambling services in Australia.

Since the ACMA made its first blocking request in November 2019, 926 illegal gambling and affiliate websites have been blocked. Over 220 illegal services have also pulled out of the Australian market since the ACMA started enforcing illegal offshore gambling rules.

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Australia

SPOTLIGHT SPORTS GROUP EXPANDS INTERNATIONAL RACING COVERAGE WITH AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND RACING

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Spotlight Sports Group (SSG), a world-leading technology, content, and media company specialising in sports betting, has announced the expansion of its racing content offering. In collaboration with its industry-leading racing media and tech supplier, the Racing Post, SSG will be producing Spotlights and Verdicts for both Australian and New Zealand horseracing fixtures.

The newly launched content offering is now live and is designed to empower horseracing enthusiasts with valuable insights from the Racing Post, enhancing their confidence in betting decisions for races in Australia and New Zealand.

This expansion of content builds on an already unparalleled level of horseracing coverage. Following successful additions of US, French and South African racing, the inclusion of Australian and New Zealand content underscores SSG’s commitment to providing global racing coverage on top of the decades-long coverage of UK and Irish racing.

The new content includes a Verdict for each race and a Spotlight for every runner across all fixtures, seamlessly integrable into any platform via an API.

Spotlight Sports Groups Global B2B Sales Director, Rob Black expressed enthusiasm about the content, stating: “We are thrilled to have extended our huge portfolio of racing coverage to now include all Australian and New Zealand fixtures. Our team dedicates continual effort to enhance our capabilities, recognising the impact Verdicts and Spotlights have on engaging prospective bettors and aiding their decision-making process.

Black continued: “We know that Racing Post content is the most trusted resource in the industry for racing bettors and this expansion of coverage provides bettors with insight on more races than ever before. Prior consumer research has shown that 92% of customers have expressed a preference for Racing Post content over alternatives in the market, which makes this content offering that much more exciting. We look forward to witnessing the content in action and further expanding our racing coverage globally.”

Spotlight Sports Group’s racing coverage is powered by the Racing Post and is proven to deliver a rich content experience for betting audiences.

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