The VGCCC has wielded the axe at the Rye, issuing $80k in fines and taking scalps over two integrity breaches and an attempt to cover up misdoings at the pub*.

At the Rye Hotel, in early 2022 senior staff falsified records to cover up an erroneous cash payment of $2,039 to a patron.

It is a requirement that venues pay any winnings over $2k either by cheque or EFT.

In March 2023 a second incident saw payment made by cheque to an ineligible person. The request came from a patron who had won on the EGMs but could not produce ID in order to collect.

Venues are required to ensure payments are only processed to the person playing the machine, and that appropriate identity checks are undertaken. 

The attempted cover-up of the breach is seen as a serious integrity failing and example of misconduct.  

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) wants to send a clear message about compliance with integrity measures. Atop the fine, it required an undertaking from the owner to sell the Hotel – and to exit the gambling industry. 

“Venue operators and owners need to understand the full extent of consequences for falsifying records and concealing misconduct,” said VGCCC CEO Annette Kimmitt AM.  

“We know that honest mistakes happen. However, venue operators that attempt to cover up breaches will be caught and face serious repercussions.” 

Late 2023 it was announced that national pub operator ALH would be allowed to proceed with its purchase of the Victorian landmark Rye Hotel.

The group had agreed to acquire the large-format pub in June from long-time owner Peter Houghton, for a price believed to be close to $50 million, but the transaction was delayed due to ACCC concerns with the purchase negatively impacting competition for retail liquor in the area.

Both breaches cited by the VGCCC took place during the tenure of Houghton, whose family had held the deeds since 1954.

The Victorian regulator applied the penalties, including the $80k fine, on the Houghton’s Myndit Pty Ltd.

The VGCCC launched its investigation in response to a complaint from a member of the public. It encourages people to report potential breaches through its contact hotline (1300 599 759) or its complaints and tip-offs page

*Contrary to any implication in the PubTIC newsletter, ALH has not yet taken ownership of the Rye Hotel, and the date of takeover has not yet been provided.

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