The Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters, which is the only casino in Alice Springs, has been ordered to pay an AU$18,000 fine for failing to exclude intoxicated patrons on several instances. The casino allowed drunk customers on a licensed premise during an influx of patrons resulting from the recent introduction of anti-alcohol measures across Australia’s Northern Territory.
On Monday, owners of the Lasseters Casino, the Ford Dynasty Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty to three separate instances of failing to remove drunk patrons from the licensed venue. The three incidents that brought the casino to the Alice Springs Local Court happened last year – once on November 30 and twice on December 5. Reviewing the case, Judge Greg Borchers ordered the Ford Dynasty to pay $5,000 per instance, as well as a $1,000 victim’s levy for the three charges.
According to court documents, at the time of these instances, the Lasseters Casino reported a daily increase of around 35 per cent in visitors numbers. The influx of patrons was driven by the stricter regulations on alcohol sells introduced earlier this year. Under the expanded restrictions, police auxiliaries stationed outside takeaway bottle shops can now question customers within 20 meters of a bottle shop.
The auxiliaries can ask customers where they are staying and where they will consume the alcoholic drinks they have purchased. If they are able to determine whether the alcohol will be consumed in an area where it is banned, auxiliaries also have the right to search people and seize the alcohol. Consumption of alcoholic drinks is not permitted in remote communities and town camps.
As a result of the new restrictions, alcoholics and people with drinking problems are believed to gather at venues where they are allowed to drink the alcohol they buy. The Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters is such a venue and according to Prosecutor Bethany Nolan, in November and December of 2018, the casino had evicted a total of 38 people from its premises. Judge Borchers said that both the business and the police anticipated the increase in patronage.
Casino Staff Allowed Intoxicated Patrons on Premises
According to the court documents, casino staff was unable to evict clearly intoxicated people, which is why it was fined. In one instance, in November 2018, two police officers saw a man who played blackjack at the casino. According to the report, cited by Judge Borchers, the customer was in no condition to communicate with the dealer or even maintain his balance. The police officers had to escort him out of the venue.
In another instance, two police officers found a woman who was asleep in the sports screening room in the afternoon. After they wake her up, they found that she was intoxicated. Security footage from the same day showed that the cleaner who found her before that did nothing, however.
The same evening, the police officers escorted a man out of the casino bar. The man, who was drunk according to police reports, was staggering and then became “quarrelsome” after being confronted by the police.