Gaming Machine Offences: Newcastle Hotel Fined $7,540

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Adherence to stipulated rules is paramount in gaming regulations. Recently, a Newcastle hotel found itself in hot water for breaching these standards, leading to significant repercussions. The saga unfolds with the Royal Inn Hotel facing a hefty fine of $7,540 for gaming machine offences. Operating these machines outside authorised hours landed the establishment in a legal quagmire. Highlighting the stringent measures in place to ensure compliance.

Join us as we delve into the intricacies of this case and its broader implications for gaming establishments.

Gaming machine offences

The Legal Battle Unfolds

The saga unfolded in the Downing Centre Local Court on March 11, when the Royal Inn Hotel licensee pleaded guilty to 13 offences under the Gaming Machines Act 2001. These charges stemmed from an extensive investigation spearheaded by Liquor & Gaming NSW. The regulatory authority oversees such matters in the region.

Jane Lin, the Executive Director of Regulatory Operations at Liquor & Gaming NSW, underscored the gravity of the situation, stating, “These restrictions are in place to reduce the risks of gambling harm by limiting the time patrons can spend playing gaming machines.” Lin emphasized that beyond merely flouting the law, the Royal Inn Hotel had recklessly endangered its patrons by allowing gaming outside the designated hours.

Unravelling the Violations

The investigation unearthed damning evidence against the establishment. Revealing that on three separate Saturdays in April 2023 – the 15th, 22nd, and 29th – gaming machines at the Royal Inn Hotel were operational during the mandated shutdown period from 1 am to 7 am, making the hotel guilty of a misdemeanour. Such blatant disregard for regulatory directives only exacerbated the severity of the situation. Underscoring the need for stringent enforcement measures to uphold gaming regulations and minimise gambling harm.

A Case of Misunderstanding or Negligence?

During the court proceedings, the defence argued that the breaches stemmed from a genuine misunderstanding of the license conditions by the approved manager. While this may elicit sympathy, it does little to absolve the establishment of its legal obligations. The Magistrate, in delivering the sentencing, underscored the paramount importance of licensees ensuring that their staff are adequately trained to adhere to regulatory protocols.

Upholding Accountability and Minimizing Harm

This incident is not an isolated one but rather part of a broader crackdown by Liquor & Gaming NSW on venues flouting gaming regulations. Earlier, in January 2024, the licensee of Vbar, an inner Sydney venue, faced prosecution for breaching gaming harm minimisation measures by placing an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) in close proximity to gaming machines.

Furthermore, as part of its proactive approach, the regulatory body has initiated cashless gaming trials aimed at evaluating the efficacy of technology in curbing gambling-related harm. These endeavours underscore the commitment to fostering a safe and responsible gambling environment for all patrons.

Gaming Machine Offences – Conclusion

The fine imposed on the Royal Inn Hotel serves as a sobering reminder of the ramifications of non-compliance with gaming regulations. Beyond financial penalties, such breaches jeopardise the well-being of patrons and tarnish the reputation of establishments involved in games of chance. As regulators continue their vigilance, licensees must uphold the highest standards of accountability and prioritise the welfare of their clientele. Only through concerted efforts can the scourge of gambling harm be mitigated, ensuring a safer and more responsible gambling landscape for all.

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