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19 June 2019

Two ALH-run hotels on North Coast to face disciplinary complaint over gaming practices

The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) will consider a disciplinary complaint alleging that two ALH-run hotels on the North Coast illegally gave free alcohol to gaming machine players to keep them gambling.

Liquor & Gaming NSW has lodged the complaint against Westower Tavern at West Ballina and South Tweed Tavern at South Tweed Heads.

This follows a comprehensive investigation into ALH venues which included inspections of more than 50 NSW hotels, with more focused investigations into four hotels.

The investigation included covert surveillance, coercive interviews of licensees, staff and other witnesses, review of CCTV, and examination of records and systems.

In two cases, where sufficient evidence was obtained, disciplinary complaints have been lodged. In the other two cases, which involved Sydney metropolitan hotels, there was insufficient evidence to proceed to a formal complaint.

The complaint lodged with ILGA alleges that the practice of supplying gaming patrons free alcohol was systemic at both North Coast hotels.

Under NSW gaming laws, it is illegal to offer or supply free or discounted alcohol to induce gambling.

ILGA has broad disciplinary powers where it is satisfied that any of the grounds on which the complaint was made apply.

For hotels that breach gaming laws, penalties include formal reprimands, fines up to $110,000 and suspension or cancellation of licences.

It is not appropriate to make any further comment until ILGA has considered the complaint.

It is usual practice for ILGA to publish reasons for decisions once it finalises disciplinary complaint proceedings.

Contact Gambling Help NSW on 1800 858 858

MEDIA INQUIRIES: Eric Aubert (02) 9995 0794, 0438 207 294.