Victoria Hits Tabcorp With AU$1m Fine Tied to Race Day Betting Systems Failure

  • VGCCC fined Tabcorp over compliance failures following a systems betting crash
  • Tabcorp’s betting system was unavailable for approximately 36 hours
  • VGCCC Chair stated licensees “have an obligation to be open and honest”
Tabcorp sign
The VGCCC has fined Tabcorp AU$1m (US$646,000) over its failure to comply with a probe into a 2020 betting crash. [Image:]

Major penalty

Perhaps surprisingly, news readers in the Australian state of Victoria have awoken to headlines of a gambling operator other than Crown Resorts getting a major Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) penalty.

an investigation into its betting system crash during the 2020 Spring Racing Carnival

On Tuesday, the regulator fined Tabcorp AU$1m (US$646,000) over compliance failures after an investigation into its betting system crash during the 2020 Spring Racing Carnival. The VGCCC promptly took to X to use Tabcorp as a warning for other operators to toe the line:

The fine is the largest the regulator has ever issued to Australia’s biggest sports and racing betting operator, Tabcorp. A VGCCC statement linked the penalty to the 2020 system outage that left Tabcorp’s betting system unavailable for approximately 36 hours.

Tabcorp goes quiet

The fine is less about the failure of Tabcorp’s betting system and more about the ensuing human failures. Explaining the reason for the penalty, the VGCCC pointed to Tabcorp’s repeated failure to comply with two Commission directions, namely to provide information concerning the outage.

a legal requirement that Tabcorp’s betting system must be continuously available

The regulator stated the first act of non-compliance was Tabcorp’s failure to respond or confirm that its betting system’s recovery arrangements post-outage were “fit for purpose.” The VGCCC’s questions stemmed from a legal requirement that Tabcorp’s betting system must be continuously available.

The Commission’s Chair, Fran Thorn, stated the regulator had to use “its compulsory powers” and issue directions because of Tabcorp’s lack of response to the VGCCC about the “business continuity and disaster recovery capability” of its betting systems.

Tabcorp eventually sent the VGCCC a compliance report four months after the deadline, for which it earned its second compliance failure.

Words of warning

Along with the fine, Tabcorp got a stern ticking off from Thorn, who said the VGCCC would “not tolerate attempts to frustrate our investigations.” The Chair said all its licensees “have an obligation to be open and honest with the Commission and responsive to its lawfully issued directions.”

Despite earning a hefty fine, Tabcorp has gotten off fairly lightly. The maximum penalty for such a transgression is upwards of AU$9m (US$5.7m), according to the regulator.

Tabcorp’s punishment is nothing compared to that received by Crown Resorts earlier this year. The casino operator got an AU$20m (US$13.7m) fine for breaking tax rules in Victoria. Crown has earned AU$500m (US$333.5m) in fines this year alone.

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