The Gambling Regulation Act 2003 (the Act) requires venue operators to nominate a natural person to be responsible as the licensee for each approved venue. This person is known as a nominee and must be approved by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR).
This provision ensures that one person is accountable for the management and control of each gaming venue, with the person nominated and approved being liable under the Act as the licensee. Nominees of a licensed gaming venue play an important role in the regulation of Victoria's gaming industry and in ensuring responsible, honest and crime free gambling takes place in their venue.
Once an application to be a nominee is approved by the VCGLR, that person is accountable for the management and control of the gaming venue. They are also liable under the Act and may, along with the licensee, be prosecuted for any breaches of the Act.
Generally, the person best placed to be a nominee is one who has an understanding of the requirements of the role, coupled with the capacity to influence the business direction of the venue operator.
A person nominated to be the nominee is usually a director of the company or committee member of the club that holds the venue operator’s licence. Alternatively, that person may be employed as the venue manager.
Before a nominee is approved, the VCGLR must consider whether the nominated person, and each of their associates, is suitable to be concerned in, or associated with, the management and operation of a gaming venue. The VCGLR must consider whether the nominated person and their associates are of good reputation by assessing their character, honesty and integrity. It must consider if the nominated person has a business association with anyone who may be regarded as not of good standing or as having unsatisfactory financial resources.
Using information obtained through the application and other checks, the VCGLR assesses each nominated person and confirms their suitability. Before they can take on the role, all nominated individuals must receive a letter from the VCGLR approving their nomination.
When to nominate a nominee
Venue operators must nominate a nominee for each venue included on its licence. A new person must be nominated and apply for approval in the following instances:
- when a venue operator is granted a licence with an approved venue
- after the licence conditions have been amended to add an approved venue
- when the VCGLR notifies the venue operator that it has refused to approve a nominated person
- when an approved nominee resigns, is dismissed or stops managing the venue.
Applications to the VCGLR must be made within 60 days of any of the above circumstances arising. If venue operators are unable to meet this timeline, they should apply to the VCGLR for an extension. Failure by a venue operator to nominate a person within the required time may result in a fine of up to 60 penalty units.
What if there isn't a nominee?
If a body corporate or managing committee does not have a natural person approved as a nominee (or if the nominee has resigned, been dismissed or has ceased to manage or control an approved venue), the directors or members of the committee of management of the body corporate are severally liable under the Act as licensee until such time as a natural person is nominated and approved by the VCGLR.
Nominee applications must be submitted to the VCGLR through the approved application form.
Notification of changes in the licensee’s situation
Through the nominee, venue operators are responsible for notifying the VCGLR of certain changes in the licensee’s situation.
Whenever any of the specific changes take place, a written notice must be provided to the VCGLR within 14 days of the change occurring.
Individual nominees and associates are also required to notify the VCGLR about certain changes in their situation. Nominees can help by reminding associates from time to time about this obligation.