Australian parties to enter mediation over largest ever fine

Australian parties to enter mediation over largest ever fine

Friday, January 19, 2018 Posted by Craig Davies
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ACT Gambling Commission hit Canberra Raiders Club with $120,000 penalty

Mediation is set to be entered by two parties within Australia, following a potential $120,000 fine for breaching the Australian Capital Territory’s (ACT) poker machine laws, reports the Brisbane Times.

The ACT Gambling and Racing Commission and The Canberra Raiders Club are to enter mediation on February 13, with both parties going before the ACT Civil and Administration Tribunal this week, after the club filed an appeal.

Canberra Raiders Club were handed the fine following a lengthy investigation, which followed a complaint from a problem gambler who says she lost over $200,000 through gaming machines at Raiders clubs in the state.

Professor Laurie Brown stated that the money was lost over an 18 month period at the Raiders club in Belconnen, after putting her own name on the self exclusion list when $30,000 was lost in 2011 at Raiders’ Gungahlin club.

It was detailed that Professor Brown gambled on 160 nights between 10am and the clubs closure at 4am, making some 242 cash withdrawals from ATMs and 353 from the club's eftpos.

By law, clubs are required to keep records of anyone showing signs of problem gambling, with examples cited including being unable to stop gambling or making multiple ATM withdrawals.

After relapsing and being allowed back into the Raiders club in Belconnen, following self exclusion years earlier, Professor Brown believes her problem should’ve been clear.

Especially with thousands of dollars a night being withdrawn from cash out machines supervised by club staff.

Raiders Group general manager Simon Hawkins has countered these claims however, saying no signs of distress or problem gambling, which could’ve triggered some sort of intervention, had been shown.

A recent statement made by the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission read: "The commission is required to consider the matters in section 59 of the Gaming Machine Act 2004 in deciding what disciplinary action to take under section 58 of the Act.

"The commission will not be making comment on the specifics of the fine or the action taken while the appeal process is still active."

Presidential member Mary-Therese Daniel ordered the clubs application be suppressed, citing its length and details the club would prefer to remain private.

While Professor Brown pointed to a lack of transparency, detailing she was not shown any of the clubs documents relating to its defence or appeal.

The suppression order is set to be reassessed on March 5.

Athol Opas, who forms part of the counsel representing the club, has intimated there could be scope to narrow some of the issues the parties are fighting over, when it enters mediation with the commission on February 13.

Should mediation be successful, the clubs application will remain suppressed unless a third party applies to have it removed.

Totally Gaming says: By issuing such a hefty fine, the ACT Gambling and Racing Commission seemed to show its hand in relation to this problem gambling case. It will be interesting to note how smooth mediation will be when the parties enter it next month, and if any ground is given by either side.


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