Two NSW gaming machine industry licence holders are facing lengthy bans and combined fines and legal costs of $100,000 for their roles in a gaming machine rebirthing racket.
The penalties against the two men follow a Liquor & Gaming NSW investigation that included the seizure of 43 retired gaming machines from a warehouse at Chipping Norton and Hornsby RSL on Sydney’s north shore.
The machines had been scheduled for destruction at a recycling facility but were instead in the process of being rebirthed for sale to licensed venues.
The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority has imposed hefty penalties against gaming machine technician Riad Allam and gaming machine seller Justin Layden for their involvement in the illegal enterprise, which involved the sale, purchase and consignment of gaming machines without the required authorisations.
Allam has been banned from the industry for three years and faces fines and costs of $66,000, while Layden has been banned for one year with fines and costs of $34,000.
Hornsby RSL Club CEO Mario Machado told The Sunday Telegraph that “without the support of Hornsby RSL Club this investigation would not have been as successful as it was”.
“There have been no similar instances of this incident and if the club suspected any poker machine seller was attempting to sell retired gaming machines to the club, it would again immediately inform and co-operate fully with the independent Liquor and Gaming Authority,” he said.
Liquor & Gaming NSW’s Director of Compliance Operations Sean Goodchild said there are strict controls that regulate the keeping, movement and disposal of gaming machines.
“Gaming machines in NSW are tightly regulated and strict rules apply to sellers, dealers and technicians,” he noted. “The unlawful conduct in this case undermines the integrity of the industry and increases the risk of gaming machines falling into the wrong hands.”
It is against the law to be in possession of a gaming machine in NSW unless properly authorised, with maximum potential penalties of up to $11,000 and/or 12 months jail.
ILGA’s complaint decisions can be viewed here.
Layden told The Sunday Telegraph he’s appealing the matter in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
He maintains his innocence and says he has been unfairly targeted by authorities.
“I am a second-hand dealer that competes with big manufacturers,” he asserted. “Anything they can do to stop me selling is a good thing for them.
“I have been in the industry for 20 years and do not associate myself with people who dodge the laws.
“At the moment I am not being shown enough evidence that [Allam] did dodge the laws.”
Pictured above: gaming machines seized from the warehouse at Chipping Norton.