TAB worker jailed for gambling $177K in 3hrs
A TAB worker immediately realised the trouble he was in after using company money to place $177,000 in bets over three hours.
Jason Robert Hill, 47, called his wife to tell her he was driving to the police station after making 220 bets on a Keno Heads or Tails game on March 1 last year.
Maroochydore District Court on Thursday heard the Tabcorp employee had been told by his manager he was, under no circumstances, allowed to place a bet for himself or any other person on Keno.
Crown prosecutor Alex Stark said Hill began placing bets at a Golden Beach TAB about 9.45am and lost $1300 of his own money before turning to Tabcorp's credit.
Over three hours he was captured on CCTV footage placing $177,000 in bets.
He won some of the bets but was left with a final debt of $91,664.
"He attended a police station where he reiterated a confession to his manager in more detail, that he'd been placing bets on Keno with his own money for two months previously," Mr Stark said.
"But on this occasion he had continued losing money, essentially from a combination of desperation to recover the money he was sinking in and the emotional rush, or rollercoaster, of the gambling."
On Thursday morning he pleaded guilty to fraud- the dishonest application of property of another by an employee to the value of at least $30,000.
The court heard he had repaid about $9000 of what he owed to Tabcorp.
He had no criminal history.
Defence barrister Robert Gordon said Hill's father was a heavy gambler and he had multiple relatives with gambling addictions.
"He instructs that it really started when he used to his see his father gamble heavily and then as he came into his teenage years he started to gamble," Mr Gordon said.
"It subsequently came to a point after his injury in 2017 that he was feeling depressed and he was starting to gamble more significantly.
"In fact, he instructs that's how he obtained the employment at Golden Beach.
"That is, that the owner was aware he was there frequently and spoke to him and ultimately offered him a job."
The court heard Hill worked as a security guard at venues across the Coast before becoming a TAB worker, and had never before taken advantage of his position of trust.
Mr Gordon said Hill would have significant difficulties in prison because he was immunocompromised, had only one functioning kidney, and suffered depression and anxiety.
Judge Glen Cash said he had to balance the sentencing principal that actual jail was a last resort, with the seriousness of Hill's crime.
"Even though what you did occurred over a short period of time, it resulted in a substantial loss to your employer and that, in my view, requires a sentence which both deters generally and denounces your conduct," Mr Cash said.
He sentenced Hill to three years' jail, suspended after six months.