A 12-year-old girl was among three minors caught gambling at a casino in Sydney, Australia, regulators said Saturday.
According to Liquor & Gaming New South Wales (NSW), the state regulator, The Star Sydney – among the largest casinos in the country – has been fined about $64,500 (90,000 Australian dollars) for that instance as well as two other cases of minors gambling and being served alcohol.
Surveillance footage released by the regulator showed the pre-teen being sneaked into the casino by her mother, who held an exit door open for her to avoid security. She could then be seen gambling alongside both her parents for 17 minutes – placing almost two dozen bets on several poker machines, known in Australia as “pokies.”
“It’s quite staggering that the young girl’s parents facilitated her entry in such a deceptive manner, let alone allowed their daughter to gamble,” NSW Independent Liquor & Authority Chair Philip Crawford said in a statement.
Liquor & Gaming NSW Director of Investigations and Intervention, David Byrne, said underage patrons trying to sneak in through the exit doors was a fairly obvious risk that the casino had “fail(ed) to manage.”
Beyond that, Byrne added, “there were a number of opportunities where staff should have noticed a very young person playing the poker machines – well before they actually did which was when the family was leaving.”
In another incident, a 16-year-old girl entered the casino through a VIP area with a middle-aged member. She was not asked for identification at the entrance, and was later served alcohol at the casino bar, where she presented a learner driver’s license which supposedly belonged to her. The girl was not caught until she attempted to enter a nightclub attached to the casino, where security noticed a mismatch between her and her purported ID.
On its website, the Star says it “practises the responsible service of alcohol,” adding that “guests must be aged 18 years or over to enter the casino.”
Meanwhile, a 17-year-old boy also managed to enter the casino, and stayed there for more than three hours before security escorted him out. During that time, he bought an alcohol and played 42 rounds of roulette and 22 hands of poker.
“Both children’s forays lasted long enough that they had interacted with several staff members by the time they were discovered,” Byrne said, with the 17-year-old having at least 15 interactions with staff, according to surveillance footage.
All three incidents were reported to the regulator by the Star itself, and occurred between March and July last year. Throughout 2019, some 32 minors gained access to the restricted areas of the casino, compared to 35 in 2018, according to the Star.
“We appreciate The Star’s cooperation in coming forward each time they detect a minor, however we do take these cases seriously,” Crawford said. “The penalty indicates that every breach requires a regulatory response befitting the risk of harm to young people and the community.”
The incidents involving the 16 and 17-year olds resulted in two $10,750 fines (15,000 Australian dollars) fines, while the incident involving the 12-year-old resulted in a $43,000 (60,000 Australian dollars) fine.
Previously, the largest fine for minors on casino premises in the country was $5,000 (7,000 Australian dollars).
CNN’s James Griffiths contributed to this report.