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The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is the independent statutory authority that regulates Victoria's gambling and liquor industries.

Our vision is that Victorians and visitors enjoy safe and responsible gambling and liquor environments.
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We are an independent statutory authority that regulates Victoria’s gambling and liquor industries to ensure their integrity and to minimise harm. Our vision is that Victorians and visitors enjoy safe and responsible gambling and liquor environments.

We are one of several regulators working in a system of oversight of the gambling and liquor industries and we work collaboratively with a wide range of state and federal government regulators and law enforcement agencies.

To understand more about what we do, see:

Who we are, what we do 

2018-19 Annual Report  (PDF, 2.38 MB)

Contact the VCGLR media team

All media enquiries should be made via the Strategic Communications team. We operate during business hours and we aim to respond to you as quickly as possible:

Restrictions on information we can release 

We are open and transparent with the information we share or responses we provide to the media, consistent with the principles of open access to government information contained in the Freedom of Information Act 1982. Due to legislative restrictions and procedural fairness, there is some information we cannot provide and some matters we cannot comment on. These include:

  • active applications being processed by the VCGLR
  • matters currently under internal review or appeal with the VCGLR
  • whether individuals or entities are the subject of any investigation by the VCGLR
  • personal information held by the VCGLR which may only be disclosed according to the information privacy principles in the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014.

In addition, the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 contains a strict confidentiality regime (see sections 10.1.29 – 10.1.34) that restricts us from disclosing information, with respect to the affairs of any person, that is acquired by the VCGLR in the performance of its functions under a gaming Act or gaming regulations (protected information). If the information requested is protected information, the VCGLR cannot disclose it unless disclosure is permitted under section 10.1.32.

Media releases

Below are our media releases. For media releases published prior to 2019 please contact our media team on the above contact details.

 

VCGLR suspends liquor licence for non-compliance

13 May 2021

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has suspended the liquor licence of a karaoke bar in Chinatown for 24 hours.

9 Points Entertainment won’t be able to supply liquor for a 24-hour period from 7am on Friday 14 May 2021 after the venue accrued their fifth demerit point within two years for breaches against its liquor licence.

Under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (the Act), 9 Points Entertainment was issued demerit points for allowing an unaccompanied minor on the licensed premises, twice permitting a drunken person on the licensed premises, and twice supplying liquor to an intoxicated person on the licensed premises. One demerit point is issued per offence.

VCGLR Compliance Director, Adam Ockwell said the 24-hour closure is significant disciplinary action against the venue.

“People go to karaoke bars to have a good time and attend these venues believing they’re safe. Licensees who repeatedly breach their liquor licence obligations and put the community at risk will have enforcement action taken against them”.

“Apart from a licence being cancelled, this is the most severe punishment legislated for a licensee. Our focus is to minimise harm and enforce relevant laws regarding the sale and supply of liquor. This is the second time we’ve suspended a liquor licence in Victoria, and we hope this disciplinary action reminds all licensees to adopt best practice and voluntarily comply with their obligations.”   

All venues with demerit points against their licence are listed on the VCGLR’s website.   

Licensees who incur a demerit point are also required to undertake additional training and education to ensure they are aware of their obligations and to reduce the likelihood of additional breaches.

More information on the demerit point register is available here.

Crown issued $1 million fine for junket conduct

27 April 2021

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation has fined Crown Melbourne Ltd (Crown) the maximum fine of $1 million for failing to comply with regulatory requirements in relation to junket operations.

This follows disciplinary action taken by the Commission under section 20 of the Casino Control Act 1991.

Commission’s findings

Having carefully considered all relevant materials and information, including submissions by Crown, the Commission has determined that Crown failed to comply with its regulatory obligations during relevant periods, namely, obligations that required Crown to implement a robust process to consider the ongoing probity of junket entities. The Commission assessed Crown’s engagement with certain individuals who were junket operators, junket agents and/or junket players at the Melbourne casino. The Commission also carefully considered submissions Crown made about its overall processes in assessing the probity of junket entities.

The Commission concluded that in respect of the analysed individuals, the processes implemented by Crown were not robust, as required by internal control statements that had previously been approved by the Commission. Crown also failed:

• to gather necessary information to enable it to make an informed decision concerning the probity of relevant junket entities and did not check and verify relevant information directly with the junket entities;

• to ensure that decisions relating to probity assessments were made by decision-makers who understood or were in a position to prioritise Crown’s regulatory obligations; and

• to maintain appropriate and contemporaneous records relating to junket probity decisions. This failure meant that it was unclear how certain decisions were reached by Crown and whether such decisions were made with due regard to Crown’s regulatory obligations.

Disciplinary action taken

As a result, the Commission has determined:

• to impose a fine of $1 million (the maximum fine available pursuant to section 20 of the Casino Control Act 1991); and

• to issue a letter of censure to Crown, which:

prohibits Crown from recommencing junket operations at the Melbourne casino until it has satisfied the Commission that its processes and procedures have been improved to the satisfaction of the Commission; and

requires Crown to report regularly to the Commission on the progress of a reform agenda Crown outlined to the Commission as part of its submissions in this matter.

VCGLR Chairman Ross Kennedy said that whilst this is not the first time that the Commission has taken disciplinary action against Crown, it is the first time that Crown has been fined the maximum fine available to the Commission under the Casino Control Act 1991.

“That fine reflects the seriousness of this matter, and the fact that Crown’s failure to implement a robust process occurred over an extended period.

“Robust processes must be implemented to ensure that Crown’s Melbourne casino remains free from criminal influence and exploitation. These are strict and legislated regulatory requirements, and this is an area where Crown has repeatedly failed,” said Mr Kennedy.

The Commission recognises that this matter may be relevant to the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence and the Commission will continue to assist that Royal Commission with its inquiries.

The Commission also notes that whilst it has provided Crown with detailed reasons for its decision, Crown has asserted that this matter has required consideration of protected information and “could provide those wishing to exploit the [Melbourne] casino’s operations with valuable information in relation to how [Crown’s] controls and procedures operate, particularly those procedures and controls designed to identify, mitigate and manage money laundering risks.”

Crown has in those circumstances asked that the information and documents that it has provided to the Commission during this matter “be regarded with due sensitivity and confidentiality…”

Accordingly, the Commission has decided not to publish its detailed reasons for these decisions , and therefore will not be commenting on this matter further at this time.

Unlicensed sale of alcohol lands manager with two year good behaviour bond

1 April 2021 

The owner of an unlicensed restaurant who admitted to selling alcohol without a liquor licence while knowing it was illegal has been sentenced with a two year good behaviour bond.

The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard that in February 2019, the director of Seddon Food Group Pty Ltd purchased the business but did not make an application to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) to transfer the liquor licence from the previous business owner.

In March 2019, a VCGLR inspector rang the business and informed the manager that Seddon Food Group Pty Ltd would be breaching the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (the Act) if it sold alcohol without a licence.

Two weeks later, two VCGLR inspectors visited the business and observed liquor being offered for sale on the menu and bottles displayed behind the counter. They ordered two glasses of wine and were served by a staff member.

The manager admitted to making the decision to sell liquor on behalf of the business knowing that it was against the law.

Magistrate Stuthridge ordered the matter be adjourned on good behaviour of the defendant for two years, after considering numerous statements in support of his good character and his barrister’s explanation that he had taken responsibility for his actions. The Magistrate also ordered the defendant pay the VCGLR’s statutory costs.

VCGLR Compliance Director, Adam Ockwell said selling alcohol without a licence is one of the most serious offences under the Act.

“This incident is exacerbated by the fact that the VCGLR previously notified the entity of their obligations to obtain a licence, but the entity subsequently knowingly continued to offer and sell liquor without holding a liquor licence. If it wasn’t for our inspectors proactively following-up soon after the business had been informed, this may have led to serious harm in the community.

“Our role is to educate and promote compliance to ensure the integrity of Victoria’s liquor and gambling industries through our risk based compliance and enforcement programs. Entities or licensees that blatantly disregard the law or their licence conditions pose the greatest risk of harm to the community and that is where our enforcement focus remains.” said Mr Ockwell.

 

 

Seventh Casino Review postponed due to Royal Commission

26 February 2021

In line with the Victorian Government’s recent announcement of establishment of a Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne Ltd’s suitability to hold its Victorian casino licence, the Victoria Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has decided to not bring forward the Seventh Casino Review as previously intended.

The Seventh Casino Review will be conducted at an appropriate time after the Royal Commission has concluded, noting that under the Casino Control Act, these reviews are conducted not less than every five years.

We look forward to supporting Mr Finkelstein AO QC and his team as the Royal Commission progresses and acknowledge the Government has indicated it will legislate to enable the VCGLR to give effect to any findings of the Royal Commission.

We also look forward to assisting the review commissioned by Government to advise it on the necessary structural and governance arrangements to establish an independent casino regulator.

Resignation of Harold Mitchell ends ‘suitability’ investigation

23 February 2021

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR)’s consideration of the suitability of the now former Crown Resorts director, Mr Harold Mitchell is no longer required given his resignation.

VCGLR CEO, Catherine Myers said given Mr Mitchell’s resignation yesterday, he was no longer an associate of Crown Melbourne.

“We conducted an investigation into Mr Mitchell and in November 2020 demanded Mr Mitchell explain how he is a suitable person to be an associate of Crown Melbourne,” she said.

“This action followed Mr Mitchell having been found by the Federal Court of Australia to have committed breaches of his director’s duties whilst on the board of Tennis Australia.

“We received Mr Mitchell’s response in December 2020 and it was under consideration, with references made in the Bergin Inquiry report to Mr Mitchell also being of relevance.

“As previously advised, we anticipated finalising the matter before the end of February, and given Mr Mitchell’s resignation yesterday, the matter has now concluded.

“Any new appointment of directors requires regulatory approval by the VCGLR to determine they are suitable to be an associate of the casino operator.”

Minister's announcement of Royal Commission

22 February 2021

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) welcomes today’s announcement by the Minister of the Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne Ltd’s suitability to hold its Victorian casino licence as well as the suitability of its associates.

We look forward to supporting to Mr Finkelstein AO QC and his team as the Royal Commission progresses.

The Government has also commenced work to establish an independent casino regulator and has commissioned a review to advise on the necessary structural and governance arrangements. The VCGLR stands ready to support the work of this review as required.

In light of the government’s announcement, the VCGLR will consider appropriate action in regards to the Seventh Casino Review at its next meeting.

VCGLR notified of former Crown Directors' resignations, continues Mitchell review

15 February 2021 

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR)’s consideration of the suitability of the now former Crown Resorts Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ken Barton and the Chair of Crown Melbourne Ltd, Mr Andrew Demetriou is no longer required given their resignations.

VCGLR CEO, Catherine Myers said given Mr Barton and Mr Demetriou had both resigned from their positions, they would no longer be associates of Crown Melbourne. Any new appointment of directors requires regulatory approval by the VCGLR to determine they are suitable to be an associate of the Melbourne casino operator.

“However our investigation regarding Crown Resorts Director, Harold Mitchell, will continue,” she said.

“In November 2020 we demanded Mr Mitchell explain how he is a suitable person to be an associate of Crown Melbourne.

“This action followed Mr Mitchell having been found by the Federal Court of Australia to have committed breaches of his director’s duties whilst on the board of Tennis Australia.

“We have received Mr Mitchell’s response and it’s currently being considered, with references made in the Bergin Inquiry report to Mr Mitchell also being of relevance. A decision in this matter is anticipated before the end of the month,” said Ms Myers.

In addition to the suitability of Mr Mitchell, the VCGLR has a range of other investigations underway regarding Crown Melbourne.

These include the “Show Cause” notice issued to Crown regarding its junket operations; the investigation into the arrest of Crown employees in China (which was delayed after Crown provided additional information that was previously not made available); and the implementation of recommendations made to Crown to improve its corporate governance and risk, regulatory compliance and money laundering controls.

The VCGLR continues to consider and assess the Bergin Report, and will determine any appropriate action to take under the Casino Control Act (Vic).

VCGLR demands explanation from Crown, Associates

11 February 2021 

Late yesterday, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) was briefed by Crown Resorts Chairman Helen Coonan and Crown Melbourne CEO Xavier Walsh on Crown’s intended actions in response to the Bergin Report.

VCGLR CEO, Catherine Myers advised Crown that the Commission continues to consider and assess the Bergin Report and will determine any appropriate action to take under the Casino Control Act (Vic).

She also advised that the VCGLR will shortly write to Crown Resorts Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ken Barton and the Chair of Crown Melbourne Ltd, Mr Andrew Demetriou and demand they explain why they remain suitable to be an associate of Crown Melbourne. Under the Victorian Casino Control Act, associates of the casino operator must be of good repute, having regard to character, honesty and integrity.

Demanding an explanation is the mandatory first step of our regulatory action. The Commission will consider the submissions of Mr Barton and Mr Demetriou and determine what action to take. The notices are the latest in a series of VCGLR actions regarding Crown. 

Ms Myers said VCGLR had a number of investigations underway, commenced before and during the Bergin Inquiry.

“In some instances, our investigations relate to matters that were also examined by the Bergin Inquiry, and I am pleased VCGLR was able to provide the Inquiry with valuable intelligence and information, as recognised by the numerous references to our investigations in the Bergin report,” she said.

“They include the existing ‘Show Cause’ notice issued to Crown regarding its junket operations; the investigation into the arrest of Crown employees in China (that was delayed after receiving additional information previously not provided by Crown); and the implementation of directions made to Crown for it to improve its corporate governance and risk, regulatory compliance, and money laundering controls.

“There is also an ongoing VCGLR investigation regarding Crown Resorts Director, Harold Mitchell, who has also been asked to explain how he is a suitable person to be an associate of Crown Melbourne. In November 2020, Mr Mitchell was found to have committed breaches of his director’s duties whilst on the board of Tennis Australia.”

VCGLR welcomes release of Bergin Inquiry report

9 February 2021 

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has welcomed the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s (ILGA) public release of the Bergin Inquiry report regarding Crown Resorts’ suitability to hold the Barangaroo restricted gaming licence in NSW.

VCGLR CEO, Catherine Myers said it would be of strong interest to the VCGLR.

“We will carefully examine the report’s findings, the recommendations and how they relate to the operations and regulation of Crown Melbourne and provide an update when appropriate. 

“This will inform any regulatory action which may be required in Victoria,” she said.

In December 2020, the VCGLR determined to bring forward by two years the Seventh Casino Review to investigate the suitability of Crown Casino to hold a casino licence in Victoria. 

Ms Myers said that the VCGLR will also examine the report regarding its relevance to current VCGLR regulatory actions or investigations underway regarding Crown Melbourne, including:

  • the VCGLR’s investigation surrounding the arrest of Crown staff in China;
  • and Crown Melbourne’s response to the VCGLR’s show cause notice regarding Crown’s due diligence in the supervision and approval of junket participants.

Crown was issued with a ‘Show Cause’ notice by VCGLR in October 2020 as to why disciplinary action should not be taken for failing to ensure internal controls regarding junket participants were implemented. Following evidence presented at the Bergin Inquiry and VCGLR’s Show Cause Notice, Crown Resorts suspended all junket operations.

VCGLR’s investigation into the arrest of Crown staff in China was extended mid last year following Crown’s decision to waive legal professional privilege over a large amount of material it had previously declined to provide.

 

VCGLR update on NSW Inquiry into Crown Resorts

1 February 2021 

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has received confirmation that NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority’s (ILGA) will today receive the Bergin Inquiry regarding Crown Resorts’ suitability to hold the Barangaroo restricted gaming licence in NSW.

VCGLR will consider Commissioner Bergin’s report as soon as ILGA makes it available for public release.

As one of the regulators of Crown Melbourne, VCGLR has closely monitored the 18-month inquiry commissioned by ILGA.

VCGLR CEO, Catherine Myers said senior officers assisted their ILGA counterparts throughout the Inquiry, providing data and information both proactively and on request.

“The Commission has worked closely with, and assisted, the Bergin Inquiry wherever possible and has monitored its progress, including evidence produced before it,” she said.

“Where we have felt evidence submitted involving regulation of Crown Melbourne has been ambiguous or unclear, we have acted promptly to provide clarification to support the work of the Inquiry.

“All findings and recommendations will be of strong interest, and will be reviewed for potential relevance to the Victorian operations and regulation of Crown Melbourne.

“The final report and recommendations will inform any regulatory action which may be required in Victoria and may also be relevant to previous work done by the Commission,” she said.

Ms Myers said in addition to assisting the Bergin Inquiry since it began in August 2019, VCGLR had simultaneously been progressing a series of issues within its regulatory remit relating to Crown Melbourne.

“These include commencing the comprehensive review of Crown’s internal control statements (including junket operations and premium players) and the VCGLR issuing a ‘Show Cause’ notice to Crown in October last year,” she said.

“The notice requires Crown to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken for failing to ensure controls regarding junket participants were implemented.

“The Commission has requested further information from Crown. After that has been received and considered, the Commission will announce its decision”, she said.

Following evidence presented at the Bergin Inquiry and VCGLR’s Show Cause Notice, Crown Resorts suspended all junket operations. 

Ms Myers said while the NSW Inquiry was underway, VCGLR investigations surrounding the arrest of Crown staff in China also intensified.

“The VCGLR investigation was nearing completion when Crown announced mid last year it was waiving legal professional privilege over a voluminous amount of material it had previously declined to provide,” she said.

“Our forensic review of that material then prompted further inquiries, which are now coming to an end.

“As a result of monitoring the Bergin Inquiry we also used regulatory powers to gain access to information Crown Resorts provided to the Inquiry that had previously not been provided to VCGLR.  

In December 2020, the Victorian Government asked VCGLR to bring forward by two years, the next major review of Crown Resorts’ Melbourne casino licence.

“The request was made in the light of evidence heard at the ILGA inquiry in NSW, and the Seventh Casino Review will commence following the appointment of a sessional commissioner which is expected shortly,” Ms Myers said.

BACKGROUND

In addition to activities occurring simultaneously with the ILGA commissioned Bergin Inquiry in NSW (as referenced in the Media Release) between August 2019 and January 2021, VCGLR has taken a range of significant regulatory initiatives and actions relating to Crown Melbourne between 2017 and mid 2019.

These include:

July 2017, commencement of the investigation into the circumstances of the arrest of Crown employees in China (for details see Media Release)

August 2017, the VCGLR stopped Crown trialling concurrent gaming by patrons on semi-automated table games, given concerns it would increase the risk of gambling harm.

In December 2017 the VCGLR issued Crown Melbourne with a $150,000 fine for failing to ensure that the approved system of internal controls was implemented regarding junket operators.

In 2018, the VCGLR issued Crown with a fine of $300,000 and a letter of censure for the unauthorised use of blanking plates to limit betting options on certain gaming machines.

In 2018, the VCGLR’s Sixth Casino Review made a record number of recommendations, and performed ongoing scrutiny of Crown’s implementation of the recommendations.

March 2018, the VCGLR entered into a MoU with AUSTRAC. Where VCGLR identifies evidence or intelligence in relation to suspected criminal activity (such as money laundering) from any of its audits, or from other sources (such as complaints or the observations of inspectors at the casino), it refers this material to law enforcement agencies such as AUSTRAC.

In March 2019, following concerns about gambling related harm, the VCGLR banned Crown from distributing plastic button picks which allow patrons to play continuously on some electronic gaming machines without needing to re-press a button for a new spin.

Deficient systems in checking age lands Tabcorp with a $23,000 fine and betting venues in hot water

11 December 2020

Tabcorp and two hotels in Melbourne’s northern suburbs have been prosecuted for allowing a minor to gamble. The minor gambled more than $2600 on electronic betting terminals (EBTs) at five venues on multiple occasions over 16 months.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) conducted an investigation following a complaint made by the minor’s father.      

Between March and July 2018, the minor aged 15 and 16 at the time, gambled at three TAB agencies in Preston, Thomastown and Northcote and at the Summerhill Hotel in Reservoir.

Tabcorp was charged with breaching the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 (GR Act) by allowing the minor to gamble across the four locations on 25 different occasions.  

The Summerhill Hotel was also charged with breaching the same legislation, including charges for failing to reasonably supervise the EBT on which the minor placed bets at the venue on 10 separate occasions.

Between 23 and 24 August 2019, the same minor aged 17, also used EBTs to gamble more than $400 at the same TAB agency in Preston and at the Browns Corner Hotel in Coburg. 

The VCGLR charged Tabcorp again for breaching the GR Act by allowing the minor to gamble across the two venues on consecutive days at 10 different times. 

The Browns Corner Hotel was also charged with breaching the GR Act, including a charge for not reasonably supervising the EBT where the underage gambling took place at the venue. 

The hotel venue operator was further charged for having an unaccompanied minor on its licensed premises contrary to the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998.  

Tabcorp pleaded guilty in the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court and was fined $23,000 plus ordered to pay costs to the VCGLR of almost $17,500.

VCGLR Compliance Director Adam Ockwell said the outcome reflected community expectations to reduce gambling related harm.

“It’s concerning this happened on multiple occasions and in the absence of the minor being asked to produce ID before using the EBTs. All venues operators and licensees have a responsibility to ensure minors are not exposed to liquor and gambling related harms.”

Magistrate Alger of the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court heard a guilty plea from the Summerhill Hotel. The hotel venue operator was fined $15,000 plus ordered to pay costs to the VCGLR of $9,251.    

The Browns Corner Hotel also pleaded guilty and was fined $5,000 plus ordered to pay costs to the VCGLR of $4,000.

In his sentencing remarks, Magistrate Alger said the two hotel operators’ systems in checking age were deficient at the time of the incidents.

Magistrate Alger indicated that it was the joint responsibility of Tabcorp and each hotel operator to ensure there were no minors gambling on EBTs installed at the venues.    

Mr Ockwell said, “With gaming venues reopening after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, compliance inspectors will continue to be on the lookout for minors and checking whether gaming areas are adequately supervised.

“Ensuring safe and responsible gaming and liquor environments also means ensuring patrons and venue operators are making informed and educated decisions about their activities. I am pleased that Tabcorp is taking this matter seriously and is trialling facial recognition technology to help reduce further incidents of underage gambling.

“I also welcome other families who may have concerns to contact the VCGLR. We will investigate as appropriate and hold gaming venues and licensees to account,” said Mr Ockwell.

In March 2020, the minor was charged in the Children’s Court for breaching the GR Act by gambling as a minor and using fake ID.

The minor was ordered to complete a Children’s Court diversion program with conditions that focussed on his gambling behaviour.   

Strategic operation uncovers bingo centre breaches

30 November 2020

A licensed bingo centre in St Albans has been ordered to pay $3000 and placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond for breaching the Gambling Regulation (GR) Act 2003.

An investigation by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) found in March 2019, St Albans Bingo Centre conducted sessions of bingo under a pooling scheme, contrary to the GR Act.

Last week, the licensee, Anva Holdings Pty Ltd pled guilty to three charges in the Sunshine Magistrates’ Court, for:

  • conducting bingo on behalf of a benevolent association and a primary school, neither of which were registered as community or charitable organisations
  • administering a pooling scheme which had expired
  • not keeping accounting records, including invoices or receipts and details of promotional games and associated payouts, that correctly explained the transactions and financial position of its operations as a bingo centre. The licensee admitted to claiming 60 per cent of its expenses, the maximum percentage of expenses allowed under the GR Act, from the organisations it was conducting bingo on behalf of without providing specific evidence.

Prior to the hearing, the licensee repaid $10,000 each to seven of the nine organisations on whose behalf it conducted bingo.     

In sentencing, Magistrate Robinson took this into account and considered:

  • forecast projections of financial losses for the years ending 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
  • letters of support from the community and charitable organisations
  • submissions that the licensee did not knowingly contravene the GR Act.     

VCGLR Compliance Director Adam Ockwell said this was another successful prosecution result.

“Two prosecutions against bingo centre operators in the same month is a step in the right direction and our inspectors will continue to target bingo centre operators to ensure voluntary compliance.

“Our strategic bingo investigation is ongoing and if results like these can act as a general deterrence and encourage operators to be vigilant and understand their operating conditions this is a positive outcome." 

Tabcorp plea hearing Monday 23 November, Heidelberg Magistrates' Court

17 November 2020

Media are invited to attend an online plea hearing at 10am AEDT on Monday 23 November. 

Tabcorp and two hotel venue operators will enter their pleas to the Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court, charged for allowing a minor to gamble.    

The matter will be heard before Magistrate Alger.

To attend, media must email [email protected] to receive the online link.

It’s alleged between March and July 2018, the minor aged 15 and 16 years gambled more than $2000 on electronic betting terminals (EBT) across four venues; 

• TAB agency, Preston

• TAB agency, Thomastown

• TAB agency, Northcote

• Summerhill Hotel, Reservoir.  

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation conducted an investigation following a complaint by the minor’s father.      

Tabcorp is charged with breaching the Gambling Regulation (GR) Act 2003 by allowing the minor to gamble across the four locations on 25 different occasions.  

The Summerhill Hotel is also charged for failing to reasonably supervise the EBT at the venue on 10 separate occasions.

In August 2019, the same minor aged 17, gambled more than $400 at the same TAB agency in Preston and at the Browns Corner Hotel in Coburg.   

Tabcorp is again charged for allowing the minor to gamble across the two venues at 10 different times.

The Browns Corner Hotel is also charged with: 

• breaching the GR Act 

• not reasonably supervising the EBT

• having an unaccompanied minor on its licensed premises. 

Landmark prosecution against bingo centre operator

11 November 2020 

A bingo centre in Epping has been the first Victorian operator to be prosecuted for conducting bingo without holding an operator’s licence. 

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) charged Bingo Bonanza Pty Ltd in High Street for breaching the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 between 30 June 2019 and 30 January 2020, following a random inspection. 

The director of Bingo Bonanza, Thomas Manasis, told the VCGLR during its investigation he did not think he needed a licence to manage and control the premises.  

“That’s the understanding I had. There was no real reason for me not to obtain it. There was no other motive, there was nothing”.

On 29 October 2020, Mr Manasis pled guilty to the one charge during an online plea hearing at Heidelberg Magistrates’ Court. 

Magistrate Denise Livingstone ordered Bingo Bonaza to pay a fine of $500 and be on a 12-month good behaviour bond. 

In sentencing, the magistrate factored in the centre’s compliance history and noted Bingo Bonanza pled guilty at an early stage of the proceeding.  

Compliance Director at the VCGLR, Adam Ockwell said it’s a significant outcome for the industry.  

“This prosecution result is the first of its kind in Victoria and results like these, signal to the industry that enforcement action by the VCGLR will be taken against bingo centre operators who are non- compliant. 

“Our message to the industry is to be vigilant and to make sure you understand your licence conditions and the requirements of operating a bingo centre. Pleading ignorance is not acceptable because the safety of the community is at stake and results like these, reinforce the important work and role of our inspectors,” said Mr Ockwell.

Gentlemen's club slapped with $5000 fine and manager barred

21 October 2020

The licensee of Sin City Gentlemen’s Club in Dandenong has been fined $5000 and the venue manager barred for two years for breaching its liquor licence conditions and operating as a brothel without a licence.  

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) took disciplinary action against the licensee for supplying liquor in breach of its licence conditions on 26 occasions in 2019.

This action followed a referral from Victoria Police who asked the VCGLR to conduct an inquiry on suspicion the licensee was operating the premises as a brothel and not meeting their liquor licence conditions.

The Commission found the licensee had breached its conditions by failing to take all reasonable steps to manage and supervise the provision of sexually explicit entertainment as required under their licence.

On 14 October 2020 the Commission determined to impose a fine of $5,000 against the licensee and issue a letter of censure.

The Commission also:

  • varied the Sin City Gentlemen’s Club licence to require increased signage, employ crowd controllers, and, require all persons employed to provide the adult entertainment to enter into a written agreement that states patrons are not to touch them before whilst providing adult entertainment
  • disqualified the venue manager Jason Ametoglou for two years, from being involved in any way (whether directly or indirectly) in the management of any licensed premises or a body corporate that holds a licence or BYO permit or any licensed club.

A VCGLR spokesperson said the disciplinary action taken was a significant outcome.

“This is a high-risk environment with the provision of sexually explicit entertainment operating past 1am on most nights of the year. We expect licensees to be proactively vigilant to the risks of non-compliance with their obligations.         

“This decision by the Commission reflects our commitment to minimising the harm arising from the misuse and abuse of alcohol. We want to encourage a culture of compliance which fosters the responsible consumption of alcohol,” the spokesperson said.

Minors with fake ID will be targeted by regional venues as industry reopens

1 October 2020

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is urging licensed venues in regional Victoria to be vigilant of minors with fake IDs, as the industry opens up in-line with the Third Step of the coronavirus roadmap.

In the 72-hour lead up to the second lockdown in August, licensed venues in Ballarat were overwhelmed with young people, mainly senior secondary school students, trying to use fake IDs to enter their venues.

Compliance Director, Adam Ockwell said now is a crucial time for venue managers and staff to check for minors as the hospitality industry reopens for mainly outdoor seated service. 

“Being in lockdown has been very hard for everyone, and especially younger people and those finishing school who have been cooped up for so long and we understand that they’ll want to go out with friends. But our continued focus is on minimising harm and ensuring the safe and responsible service of gambling and liquor as venues reopen in regional areas.

“Staff know how to detect fake IDs and they will refuse entry. I’d like to congratulate Ballarat licensees for demonstrating responsible and compliant business practices and proactively informing our inspectors of their experiences,” Mr Ockwell said. 

Mr Ockwell said stage three restrictions also presents a new challenge for venues.

“With an emphasis on contactless exchanges and face masks being compulsory for patrons, this will impact how staff check and confirm ID.”

Venues are also reminded to be on the lookout for minors, with Schoolies celebrations from late November and more young people being out with the warmer weather

Mr Ockwell said, “We educate and expect licensees to understand their obligations and the serious implications regarding the supply of alcohol and gaming products to minors.

Equally as important is the need for minors to understand the ramifications of their actions in attempting to access licensed premises with fake ID”.

Penalties for minors found to be in possession of false identification include potentially being fined more than $3000 for making false ID cards or passing on false identification to another person.

For a list of acceptable forms of identification, see Acceptable forms of identification

2019-20 Victorian gaming expenditure data released

24 July 2020

(Quotes attributable to Director Licensing, Alex Fitzpatrick)

The Victorian gaming expenditure data for the 2019-20 financial year is now available.

The total gaming expenditure for Victoria in 2019-20 was $1,988,211,131.12 – a decrease of 26.33 per cent on the previous year.

Every July the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) publishes the annual gaming expenditure data for the previous financial year. The data outlines total gaming expenditure and gaming venue information, including venue classification and electronic gaming machine numbers for Victoria.

VCGLR Director of Licensing, Alex Fitzpatrick said “Victorian gambling venues have been closed since the State of Emergency was declared on 16 March 2020. Gaming expenditure data for April, May and June 2020 reflects these closures.

“We routinely publish gaming data on the fourth Friday of every month (for the previous month) as well as biannually for certain expenditure sets,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.

The range of datasets available include:

“We also maintain the interactive licensed venue map which plots all gambling and liquor venues across metropolitan and regional Victoria,” Ms Fitzpatrick said.

More information about reports, studies and data relating to the activities of the VCGLR can be found on our website, see: Find venue data

Bairnsdale licensee pays the price for under 18s on premises

6 July 2020

(Quotes attributable to Adam Ockwell, Director Compliance)

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has successfully prosecuted a Bairnsdale licensee for allowing people under the age of 18 (minor) to gamble on their premises.

Inspectors from our regional hub in Sale attended the Bairnsdale Bowls Club with Victoria Police during a joint operation targeting East Gippsland sporting clubs in February 2019.

When inspecting the venue, two patrons who appeared to be minors were observed playing electronic gaming machines in the authorised gaming area. Police confirmed that the two patrons were minors after they failed to supply identification. The licensee confirmed that the patrons’ identification had not been checked in this instance as they allegedly had been to the venue and produced proof of age identification previously. 

In Victoria, it is illegal for a minor to gamble or enter a gaming machine area under any circumstances. It is also illegal for a minor to enter a liquor licensed area when not accompanied by a responsible adult or an exemption applies.

The matter was heard at Bairnsdale Magistrates Court in June 2020 where the Licensee accepted responsibility for the offences. The Court imposed a diversion order, requiring the Licensee, before 21 August 2020, to:

  • donate $1,000.00 to the Hope Foundation Limited
  • ensure signs are clearly displayed at all entrances advising persons under 18 years of age will not be permitted in the gaming area or permitted to gamble
  • provide a list to the VCGLR and to the Court of measures to be implemented by the Licensee to ensure minors are neither encouraged to gamble nor allowed to do so
  • continue to be proactive in ensuring new and updated measures are adhered to by all staff
  • pay legal costs of the prosecution.

If the licensee does not meet the above requirements by this time, the matter will return to court.

Adam Ockwell, Director Compliance, said “we will not tolerate the supply of gambling or liquor products to minors.

“This matter is a reminder to all Victorian licensees to ensure that they have appropriate procedures in place to stop minors accessing their products – like checking for identification. Licensees that don’t do this run the risk of court action, fines and even possible loss of licence.

“We conduct thousands of inspections annually across the state, including around 2,000 throughout regional Victoria. This outcome demonstrates that our statewide presence, through our hubs in eastern and western Victoria, is enabling our inspectors to better detect high harm breaches in regional areas and take appropriate action".

Background information

Licensees must not permit minors (persons under the age of 18 years) to be on licensed premises unless that person is accompanied by a responsible adult, exempted by the licence or a specified circumstance applies, under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998.

Launched in April 2018, the Ararat and Sale hubs cover over 2,300 licensed venues including 70 pubs and clubs with more than 2,800 gaming machines.

As well as allowing enhanced oversight throughout the entire state, the hubs have also improved responsiveness to local community issues and harm related risks. We apply a risk-based approach to regulation, encouraging the right behaviour through education and enforcement.

Anyone wishing to make a complaint alleging a breach of one of the Acts we administer (including the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, Gambling Regulation Act 2003 and the Casino Control Act 1991) can do so via our website and each complaint will be assessed. To lodge a complaint or for more information about complaints and our complaint process, see: Complaint

Designated Area Order review open for feedback

26 May 2020

Feedback on a proposal to declare five existing Designated Area Orders covering the entertainment precincts of Mildura, Footscray, Colac, Mornington and Sunshine for a period of ten years is now invited.

Residents and stakeholders can now provide feedback on the proposal to declare five Designated Area Orders for a ten-year period to significantly reduce the regulatory burden associated with making Orders annually.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) will accept written submissions until midnight on 19 June 2020.

For a copy of the proposal, see: VCGLR Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) for five Designated Area Orders

The RIS explains the rationale for remaking the Orders for a ten-year term, identifies and evaluates alternatives, and compares the costs and benefits of those alternatives.

Feedback provided in the submissions is important to us and will assist in the final outcomes of the review.

Submissions can be made via a dedicated project page, see: Designated area project

Designated areas are determined by the VCGLR in consultation with the Chief Commissioner of Police. The areas are declared entertainment precincts where alcohol-related violence and antisocial behaviour has occurred.

Once an area is declared, powers are available to Victoria Police to ban people from licensed premises and designated areas for up to 72 hours for offences including drunkenness, physical assault, destroying or damaging property and failure to leave licensed premises.

Police also have the power to seek a court order to ban repeat offenders from designated areas for up to 12 months.

There are currently 20 designated areas in Victoria. A review of the remaining designated areas will be conducted on conclusion of this project.

For more information about designated areas, see: Designated areas

Measures to support liquor licensees

2 April, 2020

(Quotes attributable to Catherine Myers, Chief Executive Officer)

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is working with relevant departments, agencies and the industry to implement a range of measures in response to coronavirus.

VCGLR Chief Executive Officer Catherine Myers said “we are conscious of the devastating effect the coronavirus is having on the gambling and liquor industries and the community and we are working rapidly to respond.

“We have worked with relevant departments and agencies to implement changes, including refunding and waiving Victorian renewable liquor licensing fees for 2020.”

Businesses that have paid the 2020 renewal fee for their liquor licence or BYO permit will be reimbursed this fee, and those yet to pay will have their fee waived.

For those licensees/permittees who have already paid their 2020 renewal fee, the State Revenue Office will administer a reimbursement by cheque. 

“In addition, we are working with the State Revenue Office to establish processes to refund all other liquor licensing application fees, including transfer of licence or temporary licence fees paid since 1 January 2020. 

“Our teams have been working around the clock to process more than 1,000 applications received to date for temporary limited licences that enable licensees to offer limited takeaway and delivery of liquor.”

Businesses that wish to apply for a temporary limited licence should visit the VCGLR website for details of eligibility, limitations and how to apply, see: Coronavirus information for licensees

The VCGLR’s website and Liquor Portal have received nearly 85,000 visits since the measures were announced. 

The following measures will also apply for the duration of the Victorian Declared State of Emergency:

  • streamlined processes for temporary limited licence applications finalised within 3 business days
  • waiver of application fees for temporary limited licences to allow businesses with an existing liquor licence to supply liquor for takeaway or delivery
  • waiving all other liquor licensing application fees
  • allowing virtual classroom delivery of the Responsible Service of Alcohol (RSA) training by VCGLR approved Registered Training Organisations – approved RTOs now have access to interactive RSA workbooks and virtual delivery guidelines from the VCGLR.

“To reflect these exceptional circumstances, we have also released a statement of regulatory intent, outlining a common-sense and pragmatic approach to enforcing liquor and gambling laws.

”Our compliance and enforcement activity will continue, but with a focus on matters that pose significant risk to public safety and community wellbeing,” said Ms Myers.

“While legislative requirements remain in force, we will have regard to the unprecedented pressures on industry and take a reasonable and proportionate response to compliance.

“We will generally take an educative approach to compliance with these requirements during this time, except in cases of significant risks to patrons or the community and will also take into consideration genuine attempts to comply with licence conditions and other requirements.

“We will continue to monitor the measures in place to deal with coronavirus and engage with licensees, and stakeholders as further actions are required,” she said.

Any new information or updates for industry are available on the VCGLR website and social media channels. For more information, see: www.vcglr.vic.gov.au

Facebook promotions banned by the VCGLR

18 March 2020

(Quotes attributable to Adam Ockwell, Director Compliance)

Social media promotions encouraging the irresponsible consumption of liquor has resulted in regulatory action against a regional licensed venue.

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) served a banning notice to the licensee after a review into their venue’s Facebook promotions found that several were inappropriate under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (the Act).

Adam Ockwell, VCGLR’s Director of Compliance said “we know the way liquor is promoted and sold influences patrons, the way they consume liquor and how they behave. Under the Act, we can ban inappropriate advertising or promotions that are likely to encourage irresponsible consumption of liquor or are contrary to the public interest.”

Failure to comply with a banning notice may result in a fine up to $19,824.40 and could lead to further action by the VCGLR such as varying, suspending or cancelling a liquor licence.

“We received a complaint from a member of the public about the venue’s use of social media. On review of the venue’s social media site, we found a number of irresponsible promotions that breached our guidelines for responsible liquor advertising and promotions. For example, one of these advertisements encouraged patrons to “get hammered” while another contained offensive innuendo,” said Mr Ockwell.

The licensee has now removed the banned advertisements from its social media site.

The VCGLR takes matters of non-compliance seriously and will take appropriate enforcement action if licensees break the rules.

“Responsible advertising and promotion of liquor plays an important part in minimising harm to patrons and to the broader community. Licensees are reminded that if they are advertising or promoting their licensed premises through social media that liquor laws still apply,” Mr Ockwell said.

For a list of banned promotions in Victoria, see Promotions banned by the VCGLR

Anyone wishing to make a complaint alleging a breach of one of the Acts we administer (including the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, Gambling Regulation Act 2003 and the Casino Control Act 1991) can do so via our website and each complaint will be assessed. To lodge a complaint or for more information about complaints and our complaint process, see: Complaints

Melbourne venue prosecuted for selling liquor without a licence

3 March 2020

An Armadale restaurant is facing the consequences for failing to ensure their venue was operating with a valid liquor licence. 

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) recently prosecuted Torpe Espresso Pty Ltd for selling liquor without a liquor licence following a routine inspection of the licensed premises by VCGLR Inspectors in late 2018. 

Adam Ockwell, Director Compliance said “our inspectors observed that the venue, Torpe Espresso, was offering and selling liquor when they did not have a valid liquor licence.

“By failing to transfer the liquor licence from the previous owners or apply for a new licence, Torpe Espresso was found to be operating without a liquor licence. We issued charges against the venue’s owners who were in breach of  the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998.”

A hearing of the matter by the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court resulted in Torpe Espresso Pty Ltd being issued a Diversion Order requiring the licensee to donate $2000 to the Smith Family, pay $400 in legal costs, and be of good behaviour for a one-month period. 

“We have invested in proactive licensing, compliance and education programs to ensure the liquor industry understands the legal requirements to operate.

“Our website has a wealth of information and is readily available for anyone unsure of their responsibilities.  I encourage those involved in the industry to check our website regularly, subscribe to our monthly industry news and attend one of our many Liquor Forums held across the State.

“We take matters of non-compliance seriously and will take appropriate enforcement action, such as in the case of Torpe Espresso, when licensees break the rules”, said Mr Ockwell.

VCGLR inspectors monitor licensed premises throughout Victoria to ensure licensees comply with the conditions of their licence and effectively minimise gambling and liquor related harm.

Anyone wishing to make a complaint alleging a breach of one of the Acts we administer (including the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, Gambling Regulation Act 2003 and the Casino Control Act 1991) can do so via our website and each complaint will be assessed. To lodge a complaint or for more information about complaints and our complaint process, see: Complaints

VCGLR takes action against Sale venue after drunk patron found on premises

20 February 2020

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has successfully prosecuted the licensee of a Sale venue for permitting a drunken patron on their premises.
 
VCGLR inspectors attended the Sale Turf Club in late 2018 for a routine inspection when they discovered the venue had permitted a drunken person to be on the licensed premises contrary to section 108(4)(b) of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (LCR Act).

The VCGLR issued charges against the licensee, Sale Turf Club Inc and a hearing of the matter by the Sale Magistrates’ Court resulted in the issuing of a Diversion Order requiring the licensee to make an $800 donation to a charity, pay $400 in legal costs, and be of good behaviour for a six month period.

Under the Diversion Order, Sale Turf Club Inc is also required to work collaboratively with the VCGLR to mitigate any future risks of similar incidents, including conducting additional in-person briefings to crowd controllers and staff who serve liquor about the responsibilities they and the venue have in ensuring drunken or disorderly persons are not permitted on the licensed premises. 

The licensee must complete all conditions under the Diversion Order or the matter will be returned to Court.

With over 11,750 liquor inspections undertaken in 2018-19, the VCGLR takes matters of non-compliance seriously and will take appropriate enforcement action in cases where breaches are detected. The VCGLR is committed to regulating Victoria’s gambling and liquor industries to ensure their integrity and to minimise harm so that Victorians and visitors can enjoy safe and responsible gambling and liquor environments.

Background information

The Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (LCR Act) sets out the law relating to the supply and consumption of liquor in Victoria. Under the LCR Act it is an offence for a licensee or permittee to supply liquor to a person in a state of intoxication, or to permit drunken or disorderly persons to be on the licensed premises, or on any authorised premises.

Licensees and staff are subject to mandatory responsible service of alcohol requirements including, for some licence types, attending compulsory training. Responsible Service of Alcohol training is compulsory for anyone selling, offering or serving liquor under an on-premises licence. This is the same licence type held by Sale Turf Club Inc.

The VCGLR regulates businesses focusing on the people, premises, products and promotions involved in supplying gambling and liquor. Anyone wishing to make a complaint alleging a breach of one of the Acts we administer (including the LCR Act, Gambling Regulation Act 2003 and the Casino Control Act 1991) can do so via our website and each complaint will be assessed. To lodge a complaint or for more information about complaints and our complaint process, see: Complaints

Licensee banned from holding a liquor licence for five years

19 February 2020

A Victorian licensee is facing the consequences for failing to comply with the conditions of their liquor licence and effectively minimise alcohol related harm in their Ararat venue.

On 13 February, three Commissioners for Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) decided to disqualify the licensee, SP Burke Pty. Ltd., from holding a liquor licence for five years effective from 13 February 2020. 

In addition to disqualifying the body corporate which held the licence, this decision resulted in the disqualification of the director of that company from holding a liquor licence, being a director or partner in an entity that holds a liquor licence, having a beneficial interest in the shares of any entity that holds a liquor licence or managing any licensed premises or entity that holds a liquor licence.

Adam Ockwell, Director Compliance at the VCGLR said the decision to disqualify the licensee and its director came after Victoria Police made a request to the Commission to conduct an inquiry into whether there were grounds for disciplinary action against the licensee under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (LCR Act). 

“The grounds for disciplinary action under the LCR Act were supported by 15 separate allegations against the licensee of breaches of the LCR Act and/or its licence,” said Mr Ockwell.

In giving reasons for its decision, the Commission stated that:

“The risk of harm to which the public is exposed through the Licensee's operation of the Licence has included exposure to physical assaults, exposing minors to environments where liquor is consumed, supplying liquor to intoxicated persons and permitting intoxicated persons to remain on the Premises…

If the Licensee demonstrates an inability to comply with the conditions of the Licence and to effectively manage the Premises, this gives evidence to support the argument that the Licensee is not a suitable person to hold the Licence… 

Having regard to the harms represented by the particulars which the Commission has found proven, and the Licensee's failure to prevent these from occurring between 6 July 2018 and 6 September 2019, it follows that the Director is unable to manage the Premises in a manner which minimises harm. The Director is responsible for the Licensee's unsatisfactory operation of the Premises, and it is therefore appropriate to consider whether he should also be disqualified…”

“This decision demonstrates the VCGLR’s commitment to regulating Victoria’s gambling and liquor industries to minimise harm so that Victorians and visitors can enjoy safe and responsible gambling and liquor environments,” Mr Ockwell said.

For more information on the decision, see: Liquor Decisions 2020

Background information

The VCGLR is an independent regulatory authority. The objectives of the Commission-based decision-making structure are to deliver balanced and consistent regulatory decisions for liquor and gambling matters. 

With over 11,750 liquor inspections undertaken in 2018-19, the VCGLR takes matters of non-compliance seriously and will take appropriate enforcement action in cases where breaches are detected.

Under section 4 of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, the Commission may conduct an inquiry to exercise its powers with due regard to harm minimisation and the risks associated with the misuse and abuse of alcohol.

The VCGLR regulates businesses focusing on the people, premises, products and promotions involved in supplying gambling and liquor.

Anyone wishing to make a complaint alleging a breach of one of the Acts we administer (including the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, Gambling Regulation Act 2003 and the Casino Control Act 1991) can do so via our website and each complaint will be assessed. To lodge a complaint or for more information about complaints and our complaint process, see: Complaints

Working with venues to ensure Victorians and visitors enjoy a safe NYE

27 December 2019

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) wants to ensure Victorians celebrate New Year’s Eve safely.

Director of Licensing, Alex Fitzpatrick said that 'each year we work with thousands of liquor licensees extending their trading hours over New Year’s Eve to ensure venues are compliant with their liquor licence and understand their obligations.’

‘While certain licence types have their trading hours automatically extended, we process around 300 additional limited licence applications each year for the busy Christmas and New Year’s Eve period,’ Ms Fitzpatrick said.

Restrictions on applications for late night trading from 1am apply to licensees in the Cities of Melbourne, Stonnington, Port Phillip and Yarra. The VCGLR will not grant applications to trade past 1am unless the applicant meets certain conditions.

‘New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest nights of the year for licensees and we expect all licensees to plan ahead and ensure the obligations of their liquor licence are met.

Our education team and inspectors will be out and about in the lead up to and during New Year’s Eve checking in on our licensees. We will be looking out for responsible service of alcohol, minors on premises and serving intoxicated patrons,’ said Ms Fitzpatrick.

Further information on extended New Year’s Eve trading hours, licence conditions and minimising risks over the New Year period, see: New Year's Eve

VAGO Follow up of Regulating Gambling and Liquor report

28 November 2019

The Victorian Auditor General’s Office (VAGO) today tabled its Follow up of Regulating Gambling and Liquor report in State Parliament.

VCGLR Chair, Ross Kennedy said he welcomes the validation of the significant progress the VCGLR has made implementing the recommendations detailed in the 2017 VAGO audit, many of which were already underway at the time of the original audit.

“Our focus on continuous improvement and innovation has been confirmed by the VAGO report which recognises the significant efforts to improve our capability and strengthen the integrity of our regulatory practice.

“The report confirms some of the significant achievements of the VCGLR as a risk-based regulator including the development and implementation of a risk-based licensing framework, a risk- based framework to assess and determine gambling related applications and a risk-based model to assess gaming machine types\games.

“Our comprehensive risk tools and decision-making frameworks guide the assessment of both gambling and liquor risks and harm ensuring consistency in our decision making and the best use of VCGLR resources.

“Close cooperation with co-regulators and collaborative enforcement approaches have been implemented, including joint operations and a Joint Enforcement Strategy with Victoria Police and a Memorandum of Understanding with the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC),” said Mr Kennedy.

Oversight of the Melbourne Casino has been enhanced to support the ongoing regulation and monitoring of Crown. These include:

  • a dedicated team that operate from within Crown seven days a week
  • a dedicated audit and investigations team that reviews and assesses Crown’s casino activities
  • a comprehensive and thorough review of Crown’s operations every five years

The VCGLR continues to drive improvements and focus its efforts on being a highly effective regulator striving for the best outcomes for Victorians.

For more information, see: Follow up of Regulating Gambling and Liquor

VCGLR supporting Warrnambool licensees

 

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation’s (VCGLR) education team is heading to Warrnambool to meet with licensees to help them understand their legal obligations for the busy summer season.

The team will be conducting their ‘Street Talk’ program with a focus on providing resources to help licensees understand their obligations, and in particular with school leaver celebrations (Schoolies) about to kick off, the rules around underage patrons and the responsible service of alcohol and gaming.  

VCGLR ‘s Manager for Education, Veronica Goluza said “The Street Talk program allows us to meet face-to-face with licensees and assist them and their staff to keep up to date with gambling and liquor laws. It is an opportunity for them to ask questions about their liquor licence including any specific conditions for their venue”.

The education team will also attend the Warrnambool liquor forum on Tuesday 26 November at 10am at the Whalers Hotel. All licensees are invited to attend. Supported by the VCGLR, liquor forums provide an opportunity for licensees, council and Police to collaborate on local issues.

Veronica said “Liquor forums are a great way for local matters to be addressed and to ensure local licensees are aware of their responsibilities, available resources, and the latest industry news. Attending forums like the one in Warrnambool also enables us to learn about the challenges that licensees and other stakeholders face in their local community when it comes to gambling and liquor.”

Forums not only help improve the operations of licensed premises, they foster the promotion of best practices when it comes to the responsible service, sale and consumption of alcohol.

There are more than 220 liquor licences across the Warrnambool and Moyne region. This includes businesses such as restaurants and cafes through to late-night pubs and sporting clubs.

If you are a local licensee and would like more information or to get involved, go to www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/find-my-local-liquor-forum

Background information

There are more than 85 liquor forums across Victoria, 65 of which are currently active and hold regular meetings. By working together, licensees maximise opportunities to attract patrons and minimise potential incidents.

Benefits of liquor forums include:

  • Keep up-to-date with changes to liquor and gambling laws
  • Contribute and make a difference in your local community
  • Get to know your local police, council and VCGLR representatives
  • Enhance your business and make your venue welcoming and safe for everyone
  • Network with colleagues and stakeholders.

Forums may be formalised with the establishment of a liquor accord – a written document that sets out specific aims, actions, objectives and strategies to address local alcohol-related problems. Each

accord is approved by the VCGLR and Victoria Police. There are currently 60 approved accords.

School leavers is about to kick off for many busy tourism spots in Victoria. The VCGLR is currently running a campaign targeting some of the increased risks that Victorian licensed venues may experience at this time such as larger crowds, intoxication and underage patrons. For more information on the campaign see : Help lower the risks this School leavers

Wangaratta liquor forum resumes

 15 November 2019

Wangaratta’s local liquor forum is being reactivated.

Supported by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR), liquor forums provide an opportunity for licensees, council and Police to collaborate on local issues. Forums not only help improve the operations of licensed premises, they foster the promotion of best practices when it comes to the responsible service, sale and consumption of alcohol.

Penny Hargrave from Rural City of Wangaratta, said, “The purpose of the forum is to bring together local liquor licensees to address relevant issues and to provide a collaborative and committed approach that will be beneficial to both licensed premises and the community.

“The forum will look at ways businesses can contribute to the safety of patrons, staff, local community and visitors by promoting the responsible service, sale and consumption of alcohol and ensuring good behaviour in and around licensed premises.

“As we draw closer to the festive season these will be important topics to discuss. We will be able to learn from each other and to look at ‘best practice’ in this area,” said Penny.   

The VCGLR’s Education team will be in attendance for the first meeting on 18 November.

VCGLR ‘s Manager for Education, Veronica Goluza said “We aim to improve voluntary compliance by educating the gambling and liquor industry.”

“Liquor forums are a great way for local matters to be addressed and to ensure local licensees are aware of their legal responsibilities, available resources, and the latest industry news.

“Attending forums like the one in Wangaratta also enables us to learn about the challenges that licensees and other stakeholder face in their local community when it comes to gambling and liquor.”

VCGLR’s education team will also be conducting their ‘Street Talk’ program while in the area to help licensees and their staff keep up to date with gambling and liquor laws.

There are more than 170 liquor licences across the Wangaratta region. This includes businesses such as restaurants and cafes through to late-night pubs and sporting clubs.

If you are a local licensee and would like to get involved or for more information, go to www.vcglr.vic.gov.au/find-my-local-liquor-forum

Background information

There are more than 85 liquor forums across Victoria, 65 of which are currently active and hold regular meetings.

By working together, licensees maximise opportunities to attract patrons and minimise potential incidents.

Benefits include:

  • Keep up-to-date with changes to liquor and gambling laws
  • Contribute and make a difference in your local community
  • Get to know your local police, council and VCGLR representatives
  • Enhance your business and make your venue welcoming and safe for everyone
  • Network with colleagues and stakeholders.

The VCGLR provides support and guidance to forums by publicising meeting dates and local forum contacts, and through a monthly forum bulletin with legislative updates, industry news and reminders.

In 2018-19 four forums sought assistance from the VCGLR to be reactivated and VCGLR staff attended 90 forum events – 42 in metropolitan Melbourne and 48 in regional Victoria. 

Forums may be formalised with the establishment of a liquor accord – a written document that sets out specific aims, actions, objectives and strategies to address local alcohol-related problems. Each accord is approved by the VCGLR and Victoria Police. There are currently 60 approved accords.

First regional community stakeholder forum

 14 November 2019

(Quotes attributable to Catherine Myers, Chief Executive Officer, VCGLR)

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is hosting its first regional community stakeholder forum in Sale on Tuesday 19 November 2019.

Chief Executive Officer, Catherine Myers, said “The community stakeholder forums provide an opportunity for us to learn from local community organisations about gambling and liquor issues that are important to them and the local community, and allow us to showcase some of our key initiatives, resources and industry news”.

“This community stakeholder forum will bring together organisations including local council, community health and police to engage with our organisation and exchange knowledge and experiences, share insights and address local issues together,” said Catherine.

“The forum will focus on the work of the Sale team since its establishment in 2018 as well as recent organisational initiatives,” she said.

Sale was chosen for the forum as it is also the home of one of the VCGLR’s two regional hubs.

The VCGLR’s regional offices, in Sale and Ararat, were established in 2018 to allow the VCGLR to maximise coverage and oversight throughout the state. Funded in the 2017 Victorian State Budget, the hubs have also improved responsiveness to local community issues and harm related risks.

VCGLR Annual Report 2018-19 now available

17 October 2019

(Quotes attributable to Catherine Myers, Chief Executive Officer, VCGLR)

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation’s (VCGLR) Annual Report 2018-19 was today tabled in State Parliament.

The Report highlights key outcomes and achievements of the VCGLR in the last financial year, including major investigations, enforcement outcomes and our performance against key priorities set out in our Corporate Plan 2017–20.

In 2018/19, the VCGLR completed three complex investigations into major gambling licensees: Tabcorp Wagering (Vic); Intralot Gaming Services; and Crown Melbourne Limited.

Each investigation identified significant improvement opportunities for licensees and resulted in disciplinary action.

The Report also includes an overview of the status of the VCGLR’s Crown China Investigation as at 30 June 2019, along with an addendum in relation to media reports published in July 2019 concerning the Melbourne casino licensee, Crown.

In response to the media reports and a subsequent announcement by the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, the VCGLR committed to re-examine a range of issues that had been addressed as part of our most recent five yearly review of the casino operator and licence holder. The VCGLR has provided progress updates to the Minister on these matters. 

The outcomes and achievements contained in the Annual Report reflect the complexity of the work we do, the thoroughness in which we undertake our work, and our ongoing progress as a regulator. 

The Report demonstrates the action we take when liquor or gambling laws are breached, and where we deem licensee actions could increase the risks of alcohol and gambling related harm. 

Safe and responsible gambling and liquor environments are the focus of everything we do, and our Annual Report 2018-19 provides insights into the way we have embedded this in our work over the last year. 

To download a copy of the report, see: VCGLR Annual Report 2018-19

VCGLR closes karaoke bar for 24 hours

7 October 2019

(Quotes are attributable to a spokesperson for the VCGLR)

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has banned the sale of liquor for 24 hours at a Melbourne karaoke bar.

The VCGLR issued a written notice of suspension to the licensee of Bass Lounge in Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, after it recorded a fifth demerit point for non-compliance.

As a result, the venue was banned from selling liquor for a 24-hour period from 7.00am on Friday 4 October 2019.

A suspension of licence is triggered when a licensed venue reaches a threshold number of demerit points (5, 10, and 15 demerits).

The case of Bass Lounge is the first instance where a demerit points threshold has been reached by a licensee in Victoria. The demerit points system is designed to encourage compliance with liquor laws and foster a responsible liquor industry.

With over 11,750 liquor inspections undertaken so far this year, the VCGLR takes matters of noncompliance seriously and will take appropriate enforcement action in such cases. The VCGLR is committed to regulating Victoria’s gambling and liquor industries to ensure their integrity and to minimise harm so that Victorians and visitors can enjoy safe and responsible gambling and liquor environments.

Background information

Under the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, liquor licensees incur demerit points relating to offences such as supplying liquor to an intoxicated person, permitting a drunk person on their premises, or supplying liquor to an underage person on a licensed premises.

Venues that do not comply with liquor laws can face a range of enforcement actions including prosecution, demerit points, infringement notices, warnings and disciplinary action.

Licensees who incur a demerit point are required to undertake additional training and education to ensure they are aware of their obligations and to reduce the likelihood of additional breaches.

For more information about the demerit point system, see: Demerit points system

Liquor licence renewal process moving to digital

30 September 2019

(Quotes attributable to Director Licensing, Alex Fitzpatrick)

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is making it quicker and easier for the 23,000 liquor licensees across the state to renew and manage their licence while saving a few trees along the way.

Each year the VCGLR post more than 45,000 letters to licensees with their renewal notice and annual liquor licences. Moving the renewal process online not only reduces paper and postage it also means licensees can avoid the wait of a mail out.

Licensees are currently posted a renewal notice in late November with payment due by 31 December. Moving the process online means licensees no longer need to wait a week or two to receive this. Once the renewal notice is ready it’s in their inbox instantly.

Licensees already signed up to the VCGLR’s Liquor Portal and have eLicence activated will receive their renewal notice via email from late November this year.

Once payment is made, licensees will automatically be emailed their liquor licence within five working days ready to print and display in their licensed venue.

Those who have not signed up to the Liquor Portal will need to do so by the end of October to receive these documents via email.

Licensees have been provided with resources and information to support their registration to the Liquor Portal. The Liquor Portal has other advantages for licensees including the ability to:

  • print a copy of your liquor licence at any time
  • download your renewal notice at any time
  • download your venue's red line plan
  • apply to add, replace or remove the Nominee associated with your liquor licence or permit
  • apply to add, replace or remove the Director(s)  associated with your liquor licence or permit
  • apply for a Restaurant and Cafe liquor licence
  • check the status of an application 

 

 

VCGLR supporting Geelong wine producers

23 September 2019

(Quotes attributable to Veronica Goluza, Manager Education, VCGLR)

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) launched a new education campaign at Wine Geelong’s General Meeting last week.

The campaign, to be rolled out over the busy Victorian events season, is designed to help wine, beer, cider and spirit producers better understand their responsibilities and clarify the ins and outs of their liquor licences, including obligations for promotional events such as farmers’ markets and festivals.

Manager for Education, Veronica Goluza said “Collaborating with industry associations is really important and presenting at Wine Geelong was an opportunity to learn directly from licensees to inform our educational approach and develop targeted resources. This campaign will highlight how licensees can remain compliant and encourage them to adopt best practice”.

Wine Geelong is a non-profit industry association that was formed with the purpose of furthering and strengthening the development of viticulture, winemaking and tourism in Geelong and its sub-regions. Jo Wealands, Executive Officer and Event Manager for Wine Geelong said “It was great having the VCGLR present to our members about their liquor licences and off-site events”.

“It can sometimes be a daunting task fully understanding your obligations and everyone wants to know they are covered by the correct licence, whether it be for their cellar door, restaurant or participating in a wine festival,” Jo said. “It was really easy for our producers to ask questions, discuss concerns and understand their licensing obligations for the future”.

The VCGLR Education team will continue to visit as many venues as possible in both metro and regional areas for its Street Talk program to help licensees keep everyone safe from alcohol related harm.

The VCGLR is committed to ensuring Victorians and visitors enjoy safe and responsible gambling and liquor environements.

Spring Sports Blitz

23 September 2019

(Quotes attributable to Adam Ockwell, Director Compliance, VCGLR)

The VCGLR is targeting patron numbers, responsible service of alcohol and underage drinking and gambling as part of its Spring Sports Blitz.

Kicking off this week, the VCGLR Education Team will be taking to the streets around the MCG talking to venues about their licensing obligations and how to ensure the safety of venue staff and patrons over the busy Grand Final long weekend.

With the Public Holiday falling on a Friday, Thursday night often becomes a busy night for venues in the lead up to the Grand Final. The Education team’s ‘Street Talk’ this week will provide venues with information and advice on how to monitor patron numbers, ensure security staff are licensed, check for ID’s and tips to refuse service to intoxicated patrons. The team will also be handing out free venue signage that highlights their responsibilities when it comes to patron safety.

VCGLR inspectors will also be working over the weekend targeting venues hosting Grand Final events to monitor, and where necessary enforce, compliance with responsible service of alcohol and gambling and liquor licence obligations.

The AFL Grand Final is one of several major sporting events during Spring in Victoria. The VCGLR’s Spring Sports Blitz will ensure both venues and patrons understand the role they play to stay safe and enjoy responsible gambling and drinking.

The VCGLR is committed to ensuring Victorians and visitors enjoy safe and responsible gambling and liquor environments.

Media reports relating to AFL Sports Controlling Body

18 September 2019

(Quotes attributable to Catherine Myers, Chief Executive Officer, VCGLR)

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) committed to review media reports regarding the AFL and the Melbourne Football Club after they were published by the Herald Sun in April this year.

The VCGLR found that the information and evidence published by the media formed part of its original investigation in 2012 which determined that the AFL had not breached its obligations as a Sports Controlling Body.

As no breaches of Victorian legislation were identified, the VCGLR will be taking no further action against the AFL in relation to this matter.

The AFL is the Sports Controlling Body for Australian Rules Football and as such, the VCGLR has oversight over the processes and systems put in place by the AFL to ensure the integrity of betting on sporting events under its control.

In accordance with the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 (the Act), the AFL as a Sports Controlling Body is required to notify the VCGLR in writing if it becomes aware of a breach or suspected breach of its policies, rules, codes of conduct or other mechanisms designed to ensure the integrity of the relevant sports betting event, as soon as practicable and in any event within 14 days of the breach or suspected breach.

Since the conclusion of the 2012 VCGLR investigation into the AFL in relation to the Melbourne Football Club tanking allegation, the AFL has updated its policies and procedures in line with recommendations made by the VCGLR to enhance its capacity to ensure the integrity of the AFL competition.

The obligations of a Sports Controlling Body and the role of the VCGLR in overseeing these are set out in the Act. The legislative framework emphasises the integrity of betting on sporting events. It requires Sports Controlling Bodies to have and maintain sports betting integrity processes and policies.

I am confident in the VCGLR’s capacity to discharge its regulatory responsibilities with all the expertise and professionalism required, including any ongoing and active investigation and oversight of AFL integrity matters.

The VCGLR is committed to ensuring the integrity of betting on sports events. In addition to the approval of Sports Controlling Bodies, the VCGLR undertakes its responsibilities as a regulator through mechanisms such as formal investigations, information gathered in the course of regular reviews and audits, complaints received and referrals to or from other agencies. Should IBAC undertake an investigation, the VCGLR would cooperate fully.

Match-fixing and related corrupt conduct is a criminal matter. Criminal matters are dealt with by Victoria Police.

Background information

The VCGLR regulates the integrity of sports betting through the approval of Sports Controlling Bodies (SCB) and sporting events. To be approved as an SCB, the VCGLR conducts a detailed examination of the application and considers the sporting bodies rules, policies and procedures particularly as they relate to the integrity of the competition and betting outcomes. The sporting body must have measures in place to maintain the integrity of approved betting events.

In accordance with section 4.5.32 of the Gambling Regulation Act 2003, a Sports Controlling Body is required to notify the VCGLR in writing if it becomes aware of a breach or suspected breach of its policies, rules, codes of conduct or other mechanisms designed to ensure the integrity of the relevant sports betting event, as soon as practicable and in any event within 14 days of the breach or suspected breach. It is also required to notify the VCGLR of any changes to integrity policies, rules or codes of conduct.

A Sports Controlling Body must also notify the VCGLR in writing of the action taken to investigate any breach or suspected breach and the result of any such investigation on its completion. Ongoing monitoring of Sports Controlling Bodies includes a periodic review and a reporting scheme which requires Sports Controlling Bodies to report breaches of integrity processes.

Match-fixing is illegal and a criminal matter. Criminal matters are a matter for Victoria Police.

Prosecution of unlicensed venue in Melbourne's eastern suburbs

16 September 2019

(Quotes attributable to Adam Ockwell, Director Compliance)

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has successfully prosecuted a Croydon cocktail bar for selling liquor without a liquor licence.

Thanks to a tip off from the community via its online complaints process, VCGLR inspectors observed the unlawful sale of liquor shortly after receiving the complaint and immediately took action.

VCGLR inspectors attended the venue, Envy Cocktail Lounge, in mid-2018 to discover that the company and its director did not hold a liquor licence. Following the inspection, evidence gathered by the VCGLR indicated that the premises had been operating unlicensed for a period of time.

Once discovered, the VCGLR issued charges against the company (Envy Cocktails Pty Ltd) relating to the unlicensed selling of liquor (contrary to section 107 (1) of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (LCR Act)) and also charged the Director of the company personally of the same offence.

A hearing of the matter by the Ringwood Magistrates’ Court resulted in Envy Cocktails Pty Ltd being convicted of both the unlicensed sale and offer of liquor and ordered it to pay a fine of $2,500.00, the VCGLR’s costs of $100.00 and statutory costs of $127.40. The Magistrate also ordered that the director of Envy Cocktails Pty Ltd be convicted of the offence of unlicensed selling of liquor and ordered he pay a fine of $3,500.00, the VCGLR’s costs of $100.00 and statutory costs of $84.40.

The total ordered penalties are one of the highest imposed by the Magistrates’ Court for an offence under the LCR Act and demonstrates the important need for businesses selling liquor to ensure they hold a valid liquor licence.

With over 11,750 liquor inspections undertaken in 2018-19, the VCGLR takes matters of noncompliance seriously and will take appropriate enforcement action in such cases. The VCGLR is committed to regulating Victoria’s gambling and liquor industries to ensure their integrity and to minimise harm so that Victorians and visitors can enjoy safe and responsible gambling and liquor environments.

Background information

The Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (LCR Act) regulates the supply and consumption of liquor in Victoria. Businesses are not only required to hold the appropriate licence relevant to the type of business but also ensure that the licence is held by them and transferred to them.

In the case of Envy Cocktail Lounge, a restaurant and cafe licence was in force at the premises, but was held by Newmarket Café Pty Ltd - a deregistered company. While Envy Cocktails had the right to occupy the premises under a formal lease agreement, neither the company, nor its Director, held a liquor licence at the time.

The VCGLR regulates businesses focusing on the people, premises, products and promotions involved in supplying gambling and liquor. Anyone wishing to make a complaint alleging a breach of one of the Acts we administer (including the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998, Gambling Regulation Act 2003 and the Casino Control Act 1991) can do so via our website and each complaint will be assessed. To lodge a complaint or for more information about complaints and our complaint process, see: Complaints

VCGLR update on the re-examination of issues relating to Crown

26 August 2019

(Quotes attributable to Catherine Myers, Chief Executive Officer, VCGLR)

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation has provided an update to the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor on the re-examination of issues relating to Crown Melbourne Limited that were recently reported by the media. The issues are complex and therefore further time is required to conduct a thorough review. Two recommendations from the Sixth Casino Review that are being considered as part of the reexamination, address matters relating to money laundering and integrity (recommendations 17 and 19 respectively). Both were due for completion by 1 July 2019, and Crown made submissions by the due date in relation to each. These are currently being considered by the Commission. The VCGLR will continue to provide updates to the Minister on these issues and if there is any further action that needs to be taken as a result of the re-examination, the VCGLR will act.

VCGLR probity investigation into Melco purchase of Crown

9 August 2019

(Quotes attributable to Catherine Myers, CEO, VCGLR)

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) was notified earlier this year that Consolidated Press Holdings Pty Limited has entered into a share sale agreement to sell down part of its shareholding (19.99 per cent) in Crown Resorts Limited to Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited (Melco).

The VCGLR will shortly commence its detailed probity assessment and investigation of the suitability of Melco and its associates to become associates of the Victorian casino operator under Victorian legislation.

Under the (Victorian) Casino Control Act 1991 (the Act), the Commission must be satisfied that the casino operator and its associates are suitable to conduct a casino business. In circumstances where a person is becoming an associate of the casino operator, the Commission must inquire into the change to determine whether it is satisfied that the person is a suitable person to be associated with the management of the casino (in this case, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd and its associates) are persons of good repute, having regard to character, honesty and integrity and other matters. If it is not so satisfied, the Commission must take such actions as it considers appropriate.

There is no time limit set out in the Act for the Commission to undertake its inquiries.

In addition to its own probity investigation, the VCGLR will work closely with its counterparts in NSW and WA in relation to the purchase and suitability of Melco, and will assist where necessary, the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority as it conducts its own inquiry under the powers set out by NSW legislation.

The legislative requirements that govern gaming licensees, including casino operators, are independent between state government jurisdictions and as such may differ. The VCGLR’s powers are set under the following Victorian legislations:

  • • Gambling Regulation Act 2003 • Casino Control Act 1991
  • • Casino (Management Agreement) Act 1993 • Gambling Regulation (Pre-commitment and Loyalty Scheme) Regulations 2014
  • • Gambling Regulations 2015
  • • Gambling Regulation (Premium Customer) Regulations 2011
  • • Casino Control (Fees) Regulations 2015

Additional information

If the VCGLR is not satisfied about the suitability of Melco and its associates, the VCCGLR will take such actions as it considers appropriate. Please see section 28 of the Act.

Re-examination of issues relating to Crown

2 August 2019

(Quotes attributable to Catherine Myers, Chief Executive Officer, VCGLR)

Following the announcement by the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation (the Minister), the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has committed to re-examining the issues relating to Crown Melbourne Limited (Crown) that have been reported in the media recently.

Many of the issues reported were carefully examined by the VCGLR as part of its detailed investigation into the suitability of Crown as the casino licence holder in the Sixth Review of the Casino Operator and Licence (the Review) which was finalised in 2018. If there is any further action that needs to be taken as a result of the re-examination, the VCGLR will act.

Crown is regulated by a wide range of state and federal government regulators and law enforcement agencies. The VCGLR’s main regulatory functions are the regulation of gaming and liquor. A variety of other agencies regulate other areas of Crown’s operations.

As part of the Review, the VCGLR engaged with other enforcement agencies and regulators on relevant issues such as money laundering and junket operators. The VCGLR has ongoing relationships with various agencies and regulators and will engage with those agencies about matters that relate to their jurisdiction to see if there is any new data or evidence that is relevant to Crown’s obligations under Victorian gambling legislation.

The VCGLR has a dedicated casino team that operates at the casino 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to this team, the VCGLR have dedicated auditors and investigators that conduct regular audits of casino operations related to high risk activities, including ensuring that Crown conducts ongoing probity checks and assessments regarding junket operators. If any matters come to our attention that fall outside the VCGLR’s regulatory remit, they are referred to the relevant agency.

Under the Casino Control Act 1991 the casino operator is required to ensure that an approved system of internal controls is implemented. The VCGLR monitors the casino operator’s implementation of these systems and controls through an active audit program. The VCGLR takes seriously any failure by the casino operator to implement these controls – and has taken disciplinary action and issued fines in this area.

The Minister also requested a review of the regulatory oversight of junket operators in Victoria. The VCGLR will assist the Department of Justice and Community Safety to review the regulatory arrangements in this area.

VCGLR and Crown Melbourne

1 August 2019

(Quotes attributable to Catherine Myers, Chief Executive Officer, VCGLR)

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is committed to ensuring that Victorians and visitors enjoy safe and responsible gambling and liquor environments We understand that allegations have been referred to Commonwealth agencies for investigation and the VCGLR will provide any assistance it can and cooperate fully with any investigation they may undertake. Allegations that fall within the remit of the Commission will be examined by the VCGLR. The Sixth Review of the Casino Operator and Licence thoroughly examined the operations of the Melbourne Casino in relation to the matters set out in the Casino Control Act 1991. The Commission continues to undertake a thorough and rigorous assessment of the submissions made by Crown in respect to the recommendations and the outcomes will be reported back to Government. 

Media reports of Melbourne Casino junket operators

29 July 2019

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is responsible for regulation of the Victorian Casino operator, Crown Melbourne Limited (Crown), which includes Crown’s operation of junket and premium player programs. The VCGLR approves systems of internal controls and administrative and accounting procedures for the casino and ensures Crown complies with these internal controls and procedures through its regular monitoring and compliance activities at the casino.

The VCGLR conducts a wide range of regulatory activities as part of its ongoing regulation and monitoring of the casino operator. It can take a range of enforcement actions at any time if it considers it appropriate to do so.

The VCGLR has taken regulatory action against Crown with respect to junkets on a number of occasions. Details of any disciplinary action taken by the Commission, including against Crown, are published in VCGLR Annual Reports as well as on the VCGLR website, see: Enforcement actions

There is more information regarding specific regulatory action in the VCGLR’s Sixth Review of the Casino Operator and Licence (30 June 2018) available on the VCGLR website, see: Sixth Casino Review

The VCGLR’s Sixth Casino Review also identified areas for improvement for the casino operator which are addressed through a number of recommendations. The VCGLR continues to monitor and review the outcomes of these recommendations as part of its regular monitoring and compliance activities.

Crown is regulated by a wide range of state and federal government regulators and law enforcement agencies. The VCGLR’s main regulatory functions are the regulation of gaming and alcohol, while other bodies regulate many other areas of the casino’s operations. For example, Crown is subject to some particular regulatory obligations, including obligations to report particular types of transactions to AUSTRAC, the Federal Government body that administers the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing Act 2006.

As one of a number of regulators, the VCGLR works proactively with relevant regulators and law enforcement agencies including Victoria Police and AUSTRAC. Any matters that fall outside the VCGLR’s remit are referred to the relevant agency.

Through the VCGLR complaints process, we investigate alleged breaches under a number of Acts, including the Casino Control Act 1991. The VCGLR strongly encourages anyone with information related to alleged breaches by the casino operator, to submit this information via this process available on our website, see: Complaints

The VCGLR is continuing to consider the well-publicised events regarding Crown’s international commission-based business and its international sales team in China. 

Consolidated Press Holdings Pty Ltd sale of Crown Resorts shares to Melco

31 May 2019

 The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has been notified that Consolidated Press Holdings Pty Limited has entered into a share sale agreement to sell down part of its shareholding (19.99 per cent) in Crown Resorts Limited to Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited (Melco). The new associated entity (Melco) and any associated individuals will need to be approved by the VCGLR pursuant to the Casino Control Act 1991.

Regulator bans plastic picks at Melbourne Casino

 7 March 2019

The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) is the independent statutory authority that regulates Victoria’s gambling and liquor industries.

The VCGLR’s vision is that Victorians and visitors enjoy safe and responsible gambling and liquor environments. The VCGLR will take appropriate action to prevent and minimise the risk of harm in these industries in accordance with its published regulatory approach.

In 2018, the VCGLR received a complaint in relation to the supply and use of plastic button picks at the Melbourne casino. Button picks are devices which allowed patrons to play continuously on some electronic gaming machines without needing to re-press a button for a new spin.

The VCGLR investigated this complaint. The Melbourne casino operator, Crown Melbourne Ltd (Crown), cooperated with the VCGLR’s investigation and advised that it had ceased supplying button picks prior to the commencement of the investigation.

Following the investigation, the VCGLR has determined that the distribution and use of button picks may increase the risk of gambling related harm and, as such, should not be permitted. Accordingly, the VCGLR has today issued a direction to Crown under the Casino Control Act 1991 to prohibit the supply and prevent the use of button picks at the Melbourne casino.

The VCGLR will monitor this issue. Crown is required to report to the VCGLR concerning the actions it has taken to implement the direction. 

 

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Page last modified 
13 May 2021