The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has begun enquiries into the apparent promotion and advertising of the Ladbrokes product at the Clifton Hotel in Kew.

Action has been initiated in accordance with the Gambling Regulation Act 2003, in relation to the ‘Ladbrokes Lounge’ at the Hotel, which is the result of an agreement with the sports betting provider, a product of Entain P/L.

The VGCCC is examining whether advertising activities at the pub may violate the Gambling Regulation Act 2003, specifically sections 2.2.1 and 2.2.8, pertaining to the conduct and promotion of unauthorised gambling.

Section 2.2.1 of the Act prohibits a person from conducting unauthorised gambling, with potential penalty of 1,000 penalty units, imprisonment for two years – or both.

A person is seen to be conducting unauthorised gambling if they: organise, manage or supervise; distribute a prize, money or other valuable consideration paid or staked through unauthorised gambling; facilitate participation or assist in the activity.

Section 2.2.8 prohibits advertising of unauthorised gambling, including publishing advertising containing information, term, expression, symbol or other thing associated with unauthorised gambling. Penalty for this is similarly 1,000 penalty units, imprisonment for two years, or both.

The VGCCC also states it is in close communication with Liquor Control Victoria (LCV) to ensure compliance with section 115 of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1988, which requires a licensee must not bet or allow a person to bet on the licensed premises or any authorised premises.

The Commission is taking a firm stance on the existing gambling licensing infrastructure and says it may commence separate investigations on similar arrangements at other hotels.

“As the VGCCC investigates, we wish to make it clear our view that the holder of the Victorian Wagering and Betting Licence (WBL) is the only entity authorised to offer wagering services in Victorian licensed venues,” says Deputy CEO Scott May.

The Australian Hotels Association in Victoria has echoed that it is in favour of the current licensing, and is working with government to finalise the matter.

“AHA (Vic) is aware that under Section 115 of the Liquor Control Reform Act, betting on licensed premises can only be facilitated through the holder of the wagering and betting licence issued under the Gambling Regulation Act,” says CEO Paddy O’Sullivan. 

“On behalf of Victoria’s PubTAB operators, who have significant investments in their premises, AHA (Vic) is awaiting official notification from the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission whether there is genuine retail wagering exclusivity provided to the holder of the wagering and betting licence in Victoria.”

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