Sydney's Star Casino fined over 12-year-old girl found gambling on pokie machines

Sydney's Star Casino has copped $90,000 in fines after a 12-year-old girl and two other minors were caught gambling and drinking at the venue in 2019.

Signage outside the Star Casino in Sydney, Monday, July 13, 2020. A patron who visited the Star casino in Sydney has tested positive to COVID-19 while 13 people are now linked to a cluster at a Sydney pub. (AAP Image/James Gourley) NO ARCHIVING

Signage outside the Star Casino in Sydney, Monday, July 13, 2020 Source: AAP

A 12-year-old girl is among three minors caught gambling and drinking at Sydney's Star Casino, costing the venue $90,000 in fines.

Her mother snuck the girl in through the exit doors, took her to the main gaming floor and watched on as the child placed 21 bets on the pokie machines over 17 minutes.

The girl and her parents, visiting Australia from China on tourist visas, were only picked up by security when trying to leave the venue, in what the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority say was a serious breach of standards.

"It's quite staggering that the young girl's parents facilitated her entry in such a deceptive manner, let alone allowed their daughter to gamble," chair Philip Crawford said.

ILGA Director of Investigations and Intervention David Byrne said underage patrons trying to sneak in through the exit doors is an obvious risk the Star should have been prepared for.

"However, 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 poker machines - well before they actually did which was when the family was leaving," Mr Byrne said.

In another incident, a 17-year-old boy was served alcohol and played 42 rounds of roulette and 22 hands of poker before being thrown out by security.

The boy entered the casino with his own drivers licence, and interacted with staff at least 15 times across 3.5 hours before he was noticed to be underage.

A 16-year-old girl was also able to enter the venue through a VIP checkpoint without being asked for ID.

When she was finally asked for ID on the main gaming floor, a fake driver's license was accepted and the teen was served alcohol.

"Both children's forays lasted long enough that they had interacted with several staff members by the time they were discovered," Mr Byrne said.

"In the 17-year-old boy's case, CCTV showed a total of 15 staff interactions."

The Star self-reported all three incidents, which occurred between March and July 2019, but were still hit with a $60,000 fine for the incident involving the 12-year-old, and $15,000 each for the teens.

The Star reported a total of 32 instances of minors gaining access to restricted areas of the casino in 2019 and in 2018 reported 35 instances.

Readers seeking assistance can contact the Gambling Helpline on 1800 858 858. 

3 min read
Published 15 August 2020 at 1:48pm
Source: AAP,SBS