Nobody ever said that running a casino was going to be easy. On a daily basis, management has to contend with unhappy customers, disgruntled employees, and those who wish to dodge various rules and regulations. The latter is especially challenging, as it can result in both fines and public embarrassment for an establishment. Case in point: the recent penalties imposed on Star Sydney for three cases involving minors.

A Trio of Violations

The three cases in question occurred between March and July of 2019. The Star reported the incidents to the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority of New South Wales. Unfortunately, they still got hit with fines totaling $90,000.

In 2019, a total of 32 minors accessed restricted areas of the casino. This was actually down from 35 in 2018.

12-Year-Old Female

The most attention-getting violation involved a 12-year-old girl who was visiting from China with her parents. Her mother snuck the girl into the casino through the exit doors and proceeded to watch while she placed 21 bets on a pokie in 17 minutes.

David Byrne, director of investigations and intervention for ILGA, was not amused. According to him, “Not only did The Star fail to manage the risk, once the child was on the gaming floor there were a number of opportunities where staff should have noticed a very young person playing the machines – well before they actually did, which was when the family was leaving.”

The ILGA levied a fine of $60,000 for this violation. No doubt, the size of the penalty was based on the girl’s young age.

17-Year-Old Male

In another case, a 17-year-old boy used his own driver’s license to enter the casino. Over the next 3.5 hours, he proceeded to play 22 hands of poker and 42 rounds of roulette. He purchased alcohol and interacted with staff members at least 15 times before being tossed out by security.

For this violation, The Star received a $15,000 fine.

16-Year-Old Female

Finally, there was the case of a 16-year-old girl with a craving for liquor. She entered through a VIP checkpoint and wasn’t asked for ID.

The minor then proceeded to the main gaming floor and ordered alcohol. She handed over a fake driver’s license when asked for identification, which a staff member accepted as valid.

This lapse in security resulted in a $15,000 fine for The Star.

Exterior of Star Casino in Sydney, Australia

Additional Fine Involving COVID-19

A casino must enforce a litany of other rules and regulations, in addition to keeping an eye out for sneaky minors. In the year 2020, much of that has centered on new policies meant to help control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of course, nobody’s perfect.

Recently, the ILGA levied a $5,000 fine against Star Sydney. The violation involved coronavirus gathering rules, specifically those stating that anyone drinking alcohol must remain seated.

According to Dimitri Argeres, Director of Compliance for Liquor and Gaming, “The Star was aware of its obligations to establish and enforce their COVID-19 safety plan, as we have visited twice over the past two weeks and provided information and advice on what they should be doing.”

The third time was the charm, as the inspecting agents issued a fine on the spot. While it might seem nitpicky to some, keep in mind that a coronavirus-positive customer visited the casino on July 4th. Unfortunately, he was only learned about later due to being asymptomatic at the time.

Mr. Argeres added, “We want to send a strong message that businesses must manage their risks to ensure individual patrons and the community are protected.”

Given that this fine resulted in negative publicity during a precarious time for the gambling industry, I imagine the message was received loud and clear.

Additional Reading

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