When pokies fans enter a casino, they expect the establishment to run an upright business. We are all aware that the house always has an edge, and that winning money takes a little luck. When the machines aren’t working properly, its slides the odds further into the casino’s favor, and for gamers in Tasmania, being subject to such illegal pokies is starting to get old.
Wrest Point Casino in the Sandy Bay area of Hobart, Tasmania has been a favorite destination for tourists and local gamblers since it first opened in 1973, but as they say in baseball; “Three strikes, you’re out!”
That’s surely the sentiment coming from some regular patrons of the casino after learning the Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission (TLGC) issued Wrest Point its third fine this year for running faulty pokies.
Back in June, the TLGC took disciplinary action against Wrest Point Casino after finding it to be in violation of Section 98 of the Gaming Control Act. The casino was fined $17,500 for “allowing a gaming machine to be played whilst it did not function in a manner in which it was designed or programmed to function.”
Now, it’s been confirmed by the TLGC that Wrest Point was issued two more fines of $17,500 and $23,500 respectively, this time for having incorrect button panels on two of its machines. As with the first incident, it was not disclosed how the illegal pokies setup was affecting gameplay for patrons, but the harsh disciplinary action taken by the TLGC doesn’t exactly exude confidence in Wrest Point’s integrity.
However, in the casino’s defense, it was noted that, on all three occasions, it was the Federal Group (owner of Wrest Point) that discovered and reported the faulty poker machines to the Gaming Commission.
Peter Hoult, Chairman of the TLGC, said that once the establishment’s managers became aware of the problem, it was reported to the commission in a timely manner, followed by the launch of an investigation into the illegal pokies.
A spokesman for the Federal Group confirmed that its new auditing and compliance-checking procedures, which were upscale in August 2015, were responsible for detecting the incorrect button panels.
“Wrest Point has significantly invested in its compliance team in the past year, recruiting more experts and upskilling staff,” the spokesman said. “The team is newly headed by an experienced expert in gaming compliance and legislation.
“These incidents occurred before these new measures were in place.” He went on to reassure customers that the ongoing compliance-checking measures are working. “Wrest Point is confident that recent investments in resourcing can give our valued guests confidence.”
According to Federal Group, the Hobart casino received its punishment with dignity, stating “Wrest Point accepts the fines handed down by the independent Tasmanian Liquor and Gaming Commission. Wrest Point sets high standards for compliance and the entire team is very disappointed that these incidents occurred.”
Players Convinced of No More Illegal Pokies?
While the TLGC is following regulatory guidelines set down for penalizing operators who run illegal pokies, and the casino has willingly admitted culpability in the matter, it’s up to players of Wrest Point to decide whether trust can be reestablished. That’s one figure analysts will be able to measure in time, based on patronage and future gambling revenue reports.