Tabcorp hit with $1m fine, its biggest yet, over betting system outage

Tabcorp hit with $1m fine, its biggest yet, over betting system outage

Photo: Josh Chiodo via Unsplash

Tabcorp Holdings (ASX: TAH) has been hit with a $1 million fine, the biggest ever against the company from the Victorian gaming regulator, after failing to comply with directions following investigations into a system outage during the 2020 Spring Racing Carnival.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) says the fine reflects Tabcorp’s ‘repeated failure’ to comply with its directions to provide information concerning the outage, which left Tabcorp’s Wagering and Betting System (WBS) unavailable for about 36 hours.  

Commission chair Fran Thorn describes Tabcorp’s conduct as ‘unacceptable’.

“We will not tolerate licensees that are not forthcoming and cooperative when the commission investigates,” Thorn says.  

“The commission had to use its compulsory powers and issue directions because Tabcorp did not provide the information we required about the business continuity and disaster recovery capability of its systems.

“It is Tabcorp’s failure to comply with these directions that has led to the fine announced today. 

“All entities we regulate, no matter how big or small, have an obligation to be open and honest with the commission and responsive to its lawfully issued directions. We will not tolerate attempts to frustrate our investigations.”

The fine was imposed on Tabcorp subsidiary Tabcorp Wagering (VIC) Pty Ltd.

The investigation by VGCCC stems from an incident that occurred on 7 November 2020, a Saturday race day, when Tabcorp’s WBS suffered a major outage.

Under its wagering and betting licence for the WBS, Tabcorp has an obligation to ensure its system is continuously available. VGCCC’s predecessor at the time, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, instigated an investigation into the outage.

The fine announced today stems from directions issued after the VGCCC says Tabcorp failed to voluntarily provide adequate information about the outage to the regulator.

“Tabcorp’s conduct during its dealings with the VGCCC over the course of the investigation and in response to the directions impacted the commission’s ability to understand the cause of the major outage and gain confidence that it would not recur,” says the VGCCC.  

“The commission found Tabcorp did not comply with the first direction because it failed to produce a response that, in either form or substance, confirmed the WBS business continuity and disaster recovery arrangements established after the outage were ‘fit for purpose’ to deliver the ‘continuously available’ performance requirement.

“Tabcorp was found to have failed to comply with the second direction by submitting a compliant report four months after the deadline.”

The VGCCC notes that failure to comply with directions from the commission carries a maximum penalty of more than $9 million.

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