The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has started action against eight locations and Tabcorp, alleging that they allowed minors to participate in gaming activities. Such acts are in violation of the Gambling Regulation Act of 2003, which expressly bans gambling for minors.
If found guilty, the operators might face significant fines. The total penalties for the eight locations may be more than AU$1 million ($644,000). If the charges are genuine, the maximum penalties for Tabcorp is AU$698,997 ($450,000), according to VGCCC.
Annette Kimmitt, CEO of the VGCCC, emphasized the potential harm of gambling, especially for children. Kimmitt stressed that it is the responsibility of Victoria’s operators to ensure that their establishments are inaccessible to minors. Licensed operators are obliged to verify the identities of their patrons and prevent underage individuals from entering gaming areas.
“One of the most serious harms is allowing minors to gamble. All gambling venues must ensure they do not accept a bet from a minor and must ask for identification from anyone they suspect could be underage,” said Annette Kimmitt.
Alleged breaches occurred between November 2022 and September 2023. Tabcorp faces 54 charges, including 27 counts of allegedly allowing minors to gamble and failure to supervise its betting terminals. TAB, a Tabcorp-owned agency, and venue operators are also facing charges for similar offenses. VGCCC alleges that the agency allowed underage individuals to gamble on 27 separate occasions. Venue operators are charged with failing to ensure proper supervision of gaming machines, permitting minors to gamble, and allowing minors on the gaming floor.
The venues accused of allowing minors to gamble include the Parkview Hotel, the Brunswick Club, the Doncaster Hotel, the Albion Charles Hotel, the Edwardes Lake Hotel, the Northcote TAB Agency, the Rose Shamrock & Thistle Hotel, and the Olympic Hotel. VGCCC has referred the matter to court and refrained from disclosing further details.
The charges reflect the growing concern over underage gambling, particularly with the rise in popularity of games featuring loot boxes. Regulating video games to protect children from loot box functions resembling gambling has become a complex issue. Australian gambling regulators are closely monitoring the market to ensure licensed operators adhere to established rules and protect minors from the harms associated with gambling activities.
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