About 80 per cent of adult Victorians drink alcohol regularly and about 75 per cent gamble at least occasionally.
Gambling activities include:
- sports betting and wagering
- electronic gaming machines, of which there are around 30 000 in the state
- Keno and lotteries
- minor gaming such as bingo, lucky envelopes, and raffles
- Crown Casino.
The Victorian Government earned $1 826 million in taxation and licence fees from liquor and gambling activities in 2018–19. The alcohol and gambling industries employ over 130 000 people in Victoria and are important parts of our tourism industry.
Both the gambling and liquor industries have a high economic and social impact.
In 2018–19, player loss from gambling within the state of Victoria totalled around $5 869.6 million—of which around $2 698.7 million was lost on gaming machines, $1 679.1 million lost at Crown Casino, and $1 491.8 million lost on wagering and lotteries.
The misuse or abuse of gambling and alcohol can have serious negative impacts for individuals, their families and friends, and the wider community. These impacts include:
- street and domestic violence
- injuries and fatalities associated with vehicle accidents
- depression and other mental health issues
- theft and fraud to support gambling and alcohol addiction
- family neglect and child abuse
- loss of family assets and income
- medical conditions associated with alcoholism.
1.1 Role of the regulator
VCGLR is the independent statutory authority that regulates Victoria's gambling and liquor industries. It aims to uphold a culture of integrity and harm minimisation in the gambling and liquor industries through efficient and effective regulation, compliance monitoring and enforcement.
The key legislation under which VCGLR regulates is:
- Casino Control Act 1991
- Gambling Regulation Act 2003 (GR Act)
- Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 (LCR Act).
1.2 Why this audit is important
Each year, we ask agencies to attest to their progress in implementing actions to address previous performance audit recommendations that they accepted. Using these attestations, and our assessment of the public interest and materiality of audit topics, we select audits to follow up.
If VCGLR had not addressed the issues identified in the 2017 Regulating Gambling and Liquor audit, there would be potentially significant social and economic impacts for the industry and the public.
1.3 What this audit examined and how
In this follow up audit, we examined VCGLR's actions against our past recommendations. For each recommendation we:
- reviewed VCGLR's attestations of action against recommendations provided as part of our annual follow up survey
- assessed documentary evidence provided to demonstrate actions in response to recommendations
- interviewed relevant staff
- reviewed systems and undertook file reviews.
Unless otherwise indicated, any persons named in this report are not the subject of adverse comment or opinion.
We conducted the follow up audit in accordance with the Audit Act 1994 and ASAE 3500 Performance Engagements. We complied with the independence and other relevant ethical requirements related to assurance engagements. The cost of this audit was $168 000.
1.4 Report structure
The remainder of this report is structured as follows:
- Part 2 examines actions against recommendations related to licensing industry participants (recommendations 1 to 6).
- Part 3 examines actions against recommendations related to assuring compliance and casino supervision (recommendations 7 to 11).
- Part 4 examines actions against recommendations related to measuring performance and developing collaborative enforcement (recommendations 12 to 13).
1.5 Responses to recommendations
We have consulted with VCGLR and we considered their views when reaching our audit conclusions. As required by the Audit Act 1994, we gave a draft copy of this report to VCGLR and asked for its submissions or comments. We also provided a copy of the report to Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC).
The full responses are included in Appendix A.