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Hotel director receives penalty for breaching gambling rules

Fri, Dec 28, 7:43am by Staff Writer

A South Australian hotelier has received a suspended prison sentence for breaching gambling rules. Robert William Appelkamp, the co-director, hotel and gaming manager of the Hotel McLaren has admitted to 16 breaches of the state’s Gaming Machines Act.

Mr Appelkamp played his own poker machines after hours, netting $52,672.59 in a 12-month span.

The gaming is alleged to have taken place on 103 separate occasions according to the government’s Consumer and Business Services division.

Under law, directors and gaming employees are banned from playing their own machines because of their inside knowledge of when the machines are likely to pay out.

As reported by My Business, the matter first came to the attention of Consumer and Business Services after a patron of the hotel reported that a jackpot had been won overnight – outside of trading hours.

The court head that Mr Appelkamp’s conduct involved dishonesty and including that he had falsified handpay receipts to make it look like it was a patron who had collected the winnings during trading hours.

After winning a $10,000 jackpot, Mr Appelkamp played the credits down to $9,993 in order to avoid having to complete anti-money laundering paperwork that involves a photo identification check.

Magistrate dismisses Mr Appelkamp’s submission

Magistrate Susan O’Connor said that such conduct amount to Mr Appelkamp “deliberately cover[ing] his tracks.”

In his submission, Mr Appelkamp alleged he only played the machines to pass the time while waiting for tea towels to dry.

Magistrate O’Connor dismissed this, stating the evidence before her showed he had only ever cashed in winnings worth more than $200 at a time.

The Magistrate went on to say that employees of the Hotel McLaren were aware of Mr Appelkamp’s conduct but feared losing their jobs if they reported him.

Mr Appelkamp was given a suspended two-month jail sentence pending a 12-month god behaviour bond.

He is unable to enter the gaming room at the hotel during that time.

The South Australian commissioner for Liquor and Gambling Dini Soulio said this was a serious breach of the law and the first time a prosecution of this kind had occurred in South Australia.

“People who run venues with gaming machines are expected to abide by the rules and not seek to exploit the system for their own personal game,” Soulio said.

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