To operate gaming machines in Victoria, clubs are required to hold gaming machine entitlements. Each entitlement authorises your club to operate one gaming machine for a period of 10 years from August 2012.
It is the responsibility of venue operators and licensed staff to ensure they understand their obligations under the Act and to make the necessary arrangements to ensure they remain compliant.
Key responsibilities and obligations of holding a gaming licence are highlighted in this VCGLR publication.
Gaming Industry Employees
Staff employed to carry out prescribed duties at an approved gaming venue, require a gaming industry employee (GIE) licence. Details of the duties that can be carried out by staff with a GIE licence as well as the licence conditions can be found here. Clubs can check whether an employee’s license is valid through the Online Services Portal on the VCGLR website.
However, CCV recommends clubs give consideration to all staff working in their gaming areas requiring GIE licenses. This protects clubs where employees initial gaming responsibilities are subsequently upgraded as well as supplementing your initial reference check processes.
To obtain the licence, staff are required to fill out a form, supply documentation and pay the required fee. Application forms are available on the VCGLR website.
Licence holders are required by law to advise the VCGLR of changes to residential address within 14days.
Taxation of Gaming Revenue
Since August 2012, the revenue from gaming in Victoria fell under a new taxation regime which is subject to 12 monthly reviews. The new regime is designed to:
- allow for small venues with small revenues to not be significantly affected by changes to gaming taxation
- maintain the 8.33% tax differential between revenue from hotels and clubs
- allow the State to continue receiving a share of gaming machine revenue that is similar to the pre-2012 arrangements.
In December 2013 the government announced changes to the taxes which became effective May 1 2014. These include increases to the tax paid by some clubs, as well as an ability to reduce the minimum return to player to 85%.
The amended tax rates are available here.
CCV on behalf of our members, vehemently opposed these changes that will put the ongoing provision of member services at risk, and in some cases impact the viability of clubs.
The following tool has been developed by CCV to demonstrate to clubs how taxation is calculated under the new regime.
This calculator should not be relied upon for budgeting purposes and clubs are urged to seek expert advice from your current financial /accounting advisors. The yellow cells in this worksheet are active and will amend the calculations dependent on input figures.
Gaming Venue Operators Supervision Charge
Under current gaming industry arrangements, gaming venue operators are required to pay a supervision charge. This charge is to recover the costs of regulating the gaming industry in Victoria.
The Treasurer, in consultation with the Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation, has determined, the gaming supervision charge is to be a two–tiered charge. It is calculated based on the average number of gaming entitlements and on the average number of operating gaming machines held by a venue operator.
The Treasurer has also decided the unit charges that apply.
The charge incorporates two elements:
· per entitlement unit charge multiplied by the average number of entitlements held by the venue operator , and
· per operating electronic gaming machine unit charge multiplied by the average number of operating gaming machines held by the venue operator.
The supervision charge is to be paid in a single installment within 6 months of the date of invoice.
The VCGLR will collect the charge. If you have any questions please contact the VCGLR on 1300 182 457 or email [email protected].
Since August 2012, Intralot Gaming Services (IGS) have been the sole monitoring service for all Victorian electronic gaming machines that operate outside Crown Casino. The system which ensures the integrity of gaming machine operations on an ongoing basis, is responsible for a number of functions including:
- Monitoring gaming machine transactions
- Providing data and information on gaming machines to the Victorian Government for regulatory, taxation and research purposes
- Facilitating linked jackpots
IGS can be contacted via their Help Desk on 1300 764 495 or [email protected]
Powering off machines overnight*
This is not advisable. If you turn the power off at your club overnight, you may experience difficulties getting the SMIBs back up onto the Monitoring System the next morning. The SMIB is on-line real time device required to operate on a 24/7 basis.
Gaming Monitoring and Deployment Costs
The Minister for Gaming determined the fees payable by all gaming venues for monitoring services under the new industry arrangements from August 16 2012.
Monitoring Fees for period 16 August 2016 to 15 August 2017 Exclusive of GST
Core Monitoring Fee $31.36 per Available and Connected Machine per month
Linked Jackpot Services Fee $10.82 per Available and Connected Machine per month
Jackpot Financial Services Fee $16.21 per Available and Connected Machine per month
YourPlay Fee $22.57 per Available and Connected Machine per month
There are extra charges beyond ‘connection’ related to Deployment Activity. The Administrative charges are outlined here.
Intralot have developed a tool to assist clubs calculate the administrative cost of their proposed deployments.
Gaming Related Forms
Most of the forms, templates and checklists required for gaming room operations can be found in the online venue manual on the VCGLR website.
Gaming venues are required to ensure the whereabouts of registered gaming keys are known at all times. This Key Register will assist clubs complying with their obligations.
House Rules – gaming machine conditions of play
Whilst there is no regulatory requirement to display “House Rules” or “Conditions of Play”, many clubs feel that having such a document provides staff with a level of confidence in dealing with customer issues. CCV has created a generic draft “House Rules” document that can be amended or updated to suit individual clubs’ circumstances.
Click below to download a copy, which you can adapt as needed. Any feedback about these Draft House Rules is welcome.
Club Committees or Boards of Management
Members of Club Committees or Boards of Management are regarded as ‘associates’ of the venue operator and must be approved by the VCGLR to carry out those duties in a club licensed for gaming.
Clubs must notify the VCGLR in writing within 7 days of the election of a new Committee/Board member.
Community Benefit Statements
Community Benefit Statements (CBS) are the mandated framework for club and racing club venue operators with gaming revenue to report expenditure on community benefits. Every club and racing club must show that it gave the equivalent of at least 8 1/3 per cent of the venue’s gaming revenue to approved community purposes or activities.
The Government accepts that clubs provide a wide range of community benefits. The Ministerial Order defines the activities and purposes that constitute community purposes and can be claimed in a CBS.
Club venue operators are required to collect and record the information that is needed to complete the Community Benefit Statement and along with their auditors, must ensure the validity and accuracy of the community benefits they claim to have provided.
If you are uncertain as to what you can claim as a community benefit, you can:
Victorian Commission for Gambling & Liquor Regulation
Every club and racing club which received gaming revenue from a club venue during the financial year must lodge an audited CBS by 30 September in the next financial year. The VCGLR must apply the hotel tax rate to any club or racing club that fails to lodge its audited CBS by that date. This higher tax rate is payable from the deadline until the date the CBS is lodged.
If an audited CBS shows that a venue gave less than the required community benefit contribution, the venue operator must pay an amount equal to the difference between the required 8 1/3 per cent community benefit contribution and the benefit stated in the CBS.
External Gaming Venue Signage
Changes to gaming signage regulations have occurred to reflect the new gaming licensing model that commenced in August 2012. Details can be be found in the following VCGLR fact sheet.
Player Information Materials
VCGLR is responsible for supplying replacement stock of player information materials. Clubs can order replacement stock by sending an email to [email protected] with their stock requirements and club details. Orders will be supplied within 14 days.
Resolution of Player Disputes
Player disputes relating to game play must be resolved at your club. IGS is unable to assist as they do not capture any game play history nor does it hold game information relating to game rules.
The VCGLR online manual contains procedures for Player Disputes and clubs may access their own game play history through the audit menu of the EGM. Game rules are available on the artwork or sub menus of the game, and EGM manufacturers may be able to provide further information.
Ticket In, Ticket Out (TITO)
The VCGLR has released a draft paper on the regulatory implications for the introduction of Ticket In Ticket Out for hotel and club gaming venues in Victoria. It is being released by the VCGLR for comment, which is due by 25th September.
The draft paper provides
- a definition and description of TITO;
- an outline of the roles of industry participants in any roll-out of TITO; and
- an overview of the specific regulatory approvals that are required for TITO.
It is expected that the regulator, along with manufacturing and supply stakeholders in the Victorian gaming industry, will be in position to move ahead with TITO in 2016, following the bedding down of Victoria’s voluntary pre-commitment scheme.
Please note that the draft paper confines itself to TITO and does not address the regulatory environment for cashless gaming. The VCGLR intends to prepare a similar document for cashless gaming once TITO regulatory issues have been resolved.
CCV will respond to the draft paper and we shall seek opportunities between now and the final date for conversations with clubs. All feedback on the paper is welcome.
Review of Venue Operator Model 2015/2016
In August 2015, the State Government announced it would be reviewing the gaming machine arrangements to enable the government to make decisions on the post-2022 arrangements.
On November 17 2015, CCV conducted a working session for gaming clubs to discuss the Government’s Venue Operator Model (VOM) Review’s Terms of Reference. The minutes of that meeting can be downloaded here.