A Riverina hotel has been fined nearly $40k for slot machine violations after repeatedly working out of hours.
Leeton is a town of about 10,000 inhabitants, almost eight hours west of Sydney.
The Leeton Hotel is a prominent two-storey pub in the center of the main Pine Ave road. It has 14 EGMs and is licensed to trade Monday to Saturday at 1 a.m. and on Sundays at 10 p.m.
An investigation by Liquor & Gaming NSW into the pub’s gambling activity found that between April and October 2021, at least 40 different venues had been served outside of allowed hours.
Times were predominantly early Saturday or Sunday mornings, or after 10pm on Sunday evenings.
Corporate licensee Golden Crown P/L and director Trent Middleton faced local Downing Center court last week, where it was revealed that approximately $9,305 in profits have been derived from the illegal trade.
Middleton offered that he had thought there would be a 45-minute grace period for gaming after trading ceased, and that he had donated the revenue generated by the illegal operation to charity.
Both Middleton and Golden Crown pleaded guilty to Gaming Machines Act violations.
The magistrate said the “primary mischief” was related to the site’s failure to ensure compliance with damage limitation. Both parties were fined $14,000, plus another $10,800 in costs.
Anthony Keon, CEO of Hospitality and Racing, notes that the violations are considered serious and that the sanctions are a clear signal to other operators who are not adhering to the rules to manage EGMs.
“These restrictions are in place to reduce the risks of gambling damage by limiting the amount of time customers can spend playing slot machines,” Keon said.
“As this penalty shows, venues that do not adhere to slot machine trading hours can expect to be caught and given the full force of the law.”