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Licensee of CBD Venue Prosecuted for ATM in Same Part of Hotel as Gaming Machines

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Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade

Licensed venues are being warned to comply with important gaming harm minimisation measures or face enforcement action, after the licensee of an inner Sydney venue was found guilty under the Gaming Machines Regulation 2019, after placing an automatic teller machine (ATM) in an ‘ATM room’ attached to its gaming room.

The licensee of Vbar on Liverpool Street in Sydney’s central business district (CBD) was ordered to pay the prosecutor’s costs in the amount of $5,500 by the local court, after inspectors from Liquor & Gaming NSW found the ATM and the magistrate determined it was in the same part of the hotel as gaming machines were located.

Large text reading ‘ATM’ was also displayed across the door to this room on the gaming room side.

This decision comes following an escalation in enforcement response by Liquor & Gaming NSW in 2023, which has seen 16 penalty notices issued and 13 prosecutions commenced for ATM location breaches.

The Regulatory Operations Executive Director for Liquor & Gaming NSW, Jane Lin, said the position of the ATM was a clear breach of the Gaming Machines Regulation 2019, which stipulates that a licensee must not permit a cash dispensing facility to be located in a part of a hotel or a club premises in which approved gaming machines are located.

The magistrate supported Liquor & Gaming NSW’s interpretation that the clause was not confined to just a gaming room and that the requirement in the regulation applies to ‘a part’ of the hotel.

Her Honour stated in her judgment that the legislative requirement ‘is intentionally to be read as ‘part [of the hotel]’ and that if the legislation was referring to only the gaming room ‘it would say that’’.

“ATMs must be located in a part of the venue completely separate to gaming rooms or any other part of a venue where gaming machines are located, even if the internal design or fit-out of the room acts to screen the ATM,” Lin said. “This is important because having such ready access to cash withdrawals can make it easier for gamblers to lose track of what they are spending while locating ATMs further away from gaming machines can encourage them to have a break in play.

“These requirements are clearly outlined in the Gaming Machines Regulation 2019 and have been further communicated to licensees in an effort to prevent and minimise gambling harm.

“Liquor & Gaming NSW has a zero-tolerance approach for venue operators who do not comply with fundamental gaming harm minimisation measures.”

Liquor & Gaming NSW is focusing on the placement of ATMs and gambling harm minimisation measures involving withdrawals from credit cards as part of a targeted compliance campaign over the summer months.

Inspectors have conducted 437 inspections at high-risk hotels and clubs across more than 30 LGAs since December 1, 2023, and will continue to closely monitor these gaming venues.

As well as the placement of ATMs in gaming rooms, inspectors are targeting:

  • the availability of credit from ATMs on the premises of a venue
  • the visibility of internal gaming-related signage (eg ‘VIP lounge’ ) from outside the venue
  • hotel layouts that compel patrons to pass through a gaming room to access another area (or service) of the venue
  • ensuring that self-exclusion signage is present in gaming rooms
  • minors in gaming rooms or using gaming machines or electronic betting terminals
  • compliance with Gaming Plans of Management

Lin said venues that fail to comply with harm minimisation requirements can expect an enforcement response in the form of large fines, potential disciplinary action or the issue of statutory directions to require that changes be made at a venue.

“Most venues in New South Wales are complying with these measures but there are still too many that don’t take the necessary steps to protect their patrons from gambling harm,” Lin said. “Any operators who attempt to circumvent the legislation will be met with a strong enforcement response.”

Australia

Supercars Partners with Dabble

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Supercars has entered into a partnership with Dabble, an Australian betting operator with a social-first sports betting app. Dabble will become the Official and Exclusive Wagering Partner of the Repco Supercars Championship.

The new partnership solidifies Dabble’s commitment to the sports betting landscape, offering a unique platform that combines the thrill of sports wagering with social interaction.

Jamie Black, General Manager of Commercial at Supercars, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Dabble to the Supercars family as our Official and Exclusive Sports Wagering Partner.

“Dabble’s innovative approach to sports betting aligns perfectly with our vision of engaging fans and creating memorable experiences.

“Together, we look forward to delivering exciting content and enhancing the fan experience across what promises to be a thrilling 2024 championship.”

Dabble allows users to view and copy bets made by friends, ex-athletes and other users, and the “Banter” chat feature allows the community to engage on a particular sport or event in real-time.

Tom Rundle, CEO of Dabble, said: “Joining forces with Supercars represents an incredible opportunity for Dabble to connect with a passionate fanbase and further establish ourselves as a leading player in the sports wagering industry.

“We’re excited to introduce Supercars fans to the Dabble community and provide them with a unique and immersive betting experience.

“Along with industry-leading social capabilities, Dabble prides itself on its fast withdrawals feature and being one of the fastest apps on the sports betting market. It is only natural for us to partner with the fastest sport in Australia, making the perfect match for the adrenaline-fueled world of Supercars.”

The Supercars and Dabble partnership has already kicked off, with markets now open for the Thrifty Bathurst 500.

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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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