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ALH fined for offering free drinks to gamblers

Australian Leisure and Hospitality Group (ALH), owned by Woolworths, has been fined AU$172,692 ($118,600) for violating the laws of New South Wales and supplying guests with alcohol to facilitate gambling.

Australia

The penalty was issued by the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) after receiving complaints in June.

ILGA inspected more than 50 ALH venues and found two ALH hotels (Westower and South Tweed Tavern) to be operating against the law by offering free drinks to regular and high-bidding gamblers to keep them playing longer.

This directly contradicts regulation regarding “the supply of free or discounted liquor as an inducement to gaming machine players.”

Valerie Griswold, executive director of Investigations and Enforcement for Liquor & Gaming, stated: “A system whereby gamblers were given free liquor 'shouts' was captured in daily reporting targets and tied to gaming profits and staff performance."

The two venues were told to suspend operations until 7 August.

Additionally, the managers of the venues were fined a total of AU$3,500, while ALH state operations manager Morgan Bensley was banned from holding the role for five years

Allegedly, ALH management was aware of what was going on. Woolworths is one of Australia’s biggest and most recognisable companies and ILGA’s chairperson Philip Crawford said it “should run its businesses to the highest legal and ethical standards and be mindful of its capacity to cause harm to vulnerable people."


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