Rye Hotel owner fined and ordered to sell over gambling breach

The owner of the Rye Hotel on the Mornington Peninsula has been hit with an $80,000 fine and a requirement to sell the business, after staff attempted to conceal an illegal gambling payout to a patron. The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) imposed the penalty, after finding that senior staff at the hotel falsified records to cover up a cash payment of $2,039 to a pokies player, who did not produce identification.

The commission also found that the hotel issued a cheque to another non-winning pokies player, who also did not show identification, in a separate breach of the gambling regulations. The breaches occurred in 2023, and were discovered after a complaint from a member of the public.

The commission said that the hotel owner, who was not directly involved in the breaches, failed to ensure that the staff complied with the gambling laws and the venue’s responsible gambling code of conduct. The owner also failed to report the breaches to the commission, and did not cooperate with the investigation.

Hotel owner to exit the gambling industry

As part of the penalty, the commission required the hotel owner to sell the business and exit the gambling industry within 12 months. The owner also agreed to surrender the hotel’s gambling licence and not to apply for another one in the future.

The commission’s chief executive, Annette Kimmitt, said that the penalty was a clear message to venue operators and owners that they would face serious consequences if they tried to cover up gambling breaches. She said that the commission expected honesty and transparency from the gambling industry, and that any attempt to deceive the regulator or the public would not be tolerated.

Gambling watchdog cracks down on misconduct

The commission, which was established in 2022, is the independent statutory authority that regulates and oversees the gambling and casino sectors in Victoria. The commission has the power to impose fines, sanctions, and licence suspensions or cancellations on gambling operators and venues that breach the gambling laws or the conditions of their licences.

The commission said that it was committed to ensuring the integrity and accountability of the gambling industry, and to protecting the interests of the community and the consumers. The commission also said that it welcomed complaints and reports from the public about any suspected gambling misconduct or harm.

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