From the olgr

Mike Sarquis
Executive Director, OLGR

p: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)

It’s the start of a new decade in which we are sure to see some exciting new developments in the industry. I’d like to wish you and your teams a great year in 2020 and assure you of our continued support during the opportunities and challenges ahead. 

Here at the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR) another year’s busy schedule is well underway as we look forward to continuing our partnership with you. 

By now, I am sure you have some goals set for the year ahead. I’d like to encourage you to continue to make patron safety one of your key goals for this year and into the future.

Visit us at AHG Expo 2020
We are looking forward to again participating in the annual Australasian Hospitality and Gaming Expo (AHG), this year to be held from 18 to 19 March at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

OLGR licensing and compliance staff will be on hand at stand number 182 to answer any questions you may have on gaming and liquor regulations, and on our latest news in the QCOM3 gaming machine protocol. 

Senior and executive OLGR staff – including myself – will also be at the expo from time to time over the two days. Come over to stand 182 and say ‘hi’. I look forward to meeting many of you there.

Advertising and promoting gambling at your venue
When advertising gaming at your venue, we recommend you follow the guidelines included in the Queensland Responsible Gambling Code of Practice. The code states that gambling providers should develop and implement strategies to ensure advertising and promotions are delivered in a responsible manner, with consideration given to the potential impact on people adversely affected by gambling. This includes newspaper and radio advertisements and mail-out materials. We are also seeing an increasing number of venues using social media for advertising and promotions.

The code provides some guidance about what responsible advertising and promotions entail, for example: 
  • not misrepresenting the probability of winning 
  • not giving the impression that gambling is a reasonable strategy for financial betterment
  • not focusing exclusively on gambling (but promoting other activities such as trivia or live shows) and
  • not using irresponsible trading practices.
Below are some examples of advertising and promotions that would be considered inconsistent with the code: 
  • messages promoting irresponsible gambling or misrepresenting probabilities, such as:
    • “Everyone is a winner”
    • “Queensland’s luckiest venue”
    • “Win $ win $ win $”
    • “Down on your luck? Play here to turn your luck around”
    • “Play responsibly to win big”
    • “Take a break and prepare for the next round of play”
    • “You will win”
    • “Winning is easy at this venue…”
  • depicting people winning in all, or the majority of, images depicting gambling behaviour.
Research indicates that exposure to gaming machine jackpot promotions could trigger problem gamblers to gamble more, and may hinder recovery attempts. Therefore, promoting jackpots, particularly via social media, is of concern and could result in negative impacts on vulnerable patrons, such as problem gamblers.

Under the code, gambling providers should also ensure that any advertising or promotions incorporate responsible gambling messages, where applicable, such as “Bet with your head, not over it”.

You can find more details on the Business Queensland website at www.business.qld.gov.au/liquor-gaming and search for Responsible Gambling Code of Practice and resource manuals.

Risk of money laundering at your club
Money laundering through gaming machines in clubs is more common than you think.

Gaming licensees should realise the potential of these activities taking place at their premises and know their obligations to counteract them.

Now’s a good time for some New Year housekeeping of your policies and procedures, so I urge you to brush up on your obligations under Australia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws. 

These laws are regulated by AUSTRAC, an Australian Government agency that uses financial intelligence and regulation to disrupt money laundering, terrorism financing and other serious crime. 

AUSTRAC regulates certain business activities, including the financial, bullion and gambling sectors. These services are ‘designated’ under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006 because they have been identified as posing a risk for money laundering and terrorism financing.

The AUSTRAC website has some very useful information and guidelines to help you implement a program to identify, mitigate and manage money laundering and terrorism financing risks at your premises. Go to www.austrac.gov.au/business/industry-specific-guidance/18. 

One key requirement is that you cannot pay winnings of $10,000 or more until you have collected and verified the required information about the customer. 

For individuals, you will need to collect the customer’s full name, date of birth and current residential address. 

You must then verify the customer’s full name and either their date of birth or residential address to documentation that is reliable and independent. 

The documentation you choose to accept should also be based on the level of risk you are willing to accept and may include an original or certified copy of a primary:
  1. photographic identification document, such as a drivers licence or passport, or 
  2. non-photographic identification document, such as a birth certificate, or concession card and an original or certified copy of a secondary identification document, such as a rates notice or electricity account. 
The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Rules Instrument 2007 provides a full list of acceptable document types. You can find this at www.legislation.gov.au 

Normally, payouts to customers in Queensland must be made within 24 hours after their claim is made. However, if it takes longer than 24 hours for the customer to produce suitable ID you will not be penalised for withholding payment.

There are some circumstances where you must collect and verify information about a customer even if the winnings are less than $10,000. These circumstances include where a suspicious matter arises, or if you determine that the money laundering/terrorism financing risk associated with a customer is high. 

If you are unsure of your obligations for payments of $10,000 or more, contact AUSTRAC, Australia’s Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing regulator, on 1300 021 037, or visit the AUSTRAC website at http://www.austrac.gov.au/

You can also contact the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation at 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

It is in the best interests of your business that you and your staff are alert for potential criminal activities associated with the gaming machines at your premises, particularly in light of AUSTRAC’s high profile activities.

* Please note this communication is not intended to constitute legal advice in relation to your obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006, nor does it represent the full scope of your responsibilities under that legislation.

Update to Guideline 51: Preparing an acoustic report
Work to enhance Guideline 51: Preparing an acoustic report is now complete and the updated guideline can be viewed on the Business Queensland website under ‘Liquor guidelines’ at www.business.qld.gov.au/liquor-gaming.

Over recent months industry provided feedback on the data recording and calculation tables in Guideline 51, and consequently changes have been made resulting in a guideline that is easier to interpret and work with. A glossary of terms and an alternative option for noise character adjustment has also been added.  

This guideline is for acoustic consultants on how to prepare noise assessment reports for licensed premises. It officially replaced Guideline 50: Acoustic consultants on 1 July 2019, however, OLGR will accept noise assessment reports prepared under Guideline 50 until 29 February 2020. If you have any questions regarding Guideline 51, or the transition period, please contact the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation on (07) 3738 8387 or email Governance-Program-D@justice.qld.gov.au.

Thank you to licensees for their feedback to help improve this guideline. 

Recent prosecutions
Licensee fined $45,000 for ‘comprehensive disregard’ of Liquor Act. A Sunnybank Hills licensee has been fined $45,000 in the Holland Park Magistrates Court for multiple offences under the Liquor Act 1992.

On 1 November 2019, Phoenix Darts Australia Pty Ltd, trading as Phoenix Darts Bar, was found guilty of not complying with various obligations relating to unacceptable liquor service practices, having an approved manager present or available, operation and maintenance of CCTV, and engaging crowd controllers for the venue.

OLGR investigators inspected the premises multiple times during their extensive investigations and found that Phoenix Darts Bar continued to breach the Liquor Act. As a result, Phoenix Darts Australia Pty Ltd was charged with 10 offences under the Act committed over the period from November 2018 to May 2019. OLGR supports the Magistrate’s comments that the licensee had a ‘comprehensive disregard’ for the Liquor Act. 

These laws are in place to minimise the risk of alcohol-related harm for members of the public and the community, and it is disappointing that some choose not to follow the law. This acts as a timely reminder to all venues to adhere to the law and ensure the responsible service of alcohol.

Hotel licensee and director swallow fine for supply to minor
On 16 December 2019, a Darling Downs hotel licensee and its director were convicted and fined $11,000 in Warwick Magistrates Court for allowing a minor to consume alcohol and gamble at their venue.

Big Fish Drink Pty Ltd and its director, who is also the approved manager of The Clifton Arms, were charged with multiple offences dating back to November 2018, for supplying liquor to a minor and allowing them to wager, and selling liquor outside their approved trading period.

This case serves as a reminder to all licensees of their obligation under Queensland’s liquor and wagering laws to practice at all times the responsible service of alcohol and responsible service of gambling.

It’s the responsibility of management and staff to check the ID of all patrons who may be minors, not just at the door but also at the bar and at wagering locations within their premises.

Licensees are also reminded of their legal obligation to keep to the approved trading hours on their licences. Any licensees that want to trade outside of ordinary trading hours need to apply for extended trading hours, either on a one-off or permanent basis.

For more information on minors and underage drinking on licensed premises, as well as trading hours for licensed premises, visit www.business.qld.gov.au/liquor-gaming.