Advanced Gambling Rules to Take Effect in Victoria by 2024
Victoria, Australia readies itself for stricter gambling regulations in 2024, as part of comprehensive reforms driven by the Andrews Labor Government. While the precise enactment date remains pending, these modifications aim to foster responsible gambling conduct.
Key modifications encompass obligatory sign-in cards and loss limits on poker machines within gaming establishments. Moreover, ‘load limits’ will be introduced, reducing the maximum player input on poker machines from AU$1,000 (US$681) to $100. Additionally, venues will need to suspend gaming operations for a minimum of six hours daily. By the midpoint of the following year, mandatory closure periods spanning from 4 am to 10 am will be imposed for gaming machine areas in all venues except Crown Casino.
Government to Tackle Pokies Harm and Money Laundering
As part of its efforts, the Government has unveiled plans to decrease the spin rate on poker machines, with the goal of slowing down gameplay and potentially reducing losses. The existing rate of two point one seconds per game will be extended to three seconds.
Moreover, the reforms will encompass the monitoring of funds inserted into the machines, a step aimed at deterring money laundering within gaming establishments.
Premier Daniel Andrews underlined, ‘These reforms establish the most robust safeguards in Australia against gambling-related harm and money laundering.’
Nevertheless, experts have cautioned that confining these measures solely to casinos could potentially shift issues of problem gambling and money laundering to suburban venues.
Victoria’s Push for Stronger Regulation as Pokies Losses Reach Record Highs
Data released by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission, responsible for addressing gambling-related harm through legal means, reveals an unprecedented loss of $2.8 billion among pokie players at pubs, clubs, and hotels during the initial 11 months of the previous fiscal year. This marks a notable increase from the nearly $2 billion recorded during the same period in the prior year, 2021-22.
Reports from this source emphasize the ongoing efforts of local government regions grappling with the highest pokie losses in the state, urging the Andrews government to enforce stricter regulations to curb the billions of dollars being wagered.
The most significant losses were observed in the City of Brimbank, where gamblers lost $159 million in the 11 months leading up to June of the current year, closely followed by the City of Casey with total losses reaching $146 million.
Fran Thorn, chair of the Gambling Control Commission, highlighted the pivotal role played by these reforms in mitigating gambling-related harm. Once the new measures are enshrined in law, the commission will meticulously oversee their implementation. Thorn stated, ‘We will then leverage our complete regulatory authority to ensure compliance. Mandatory carded play, connecting gameplay to patrons’ identities, and restricting funds loaded into electronic gaming machines are vital anti-money laundering measures that will contribute to upholding the integrity of Victoria’s gambling sector.’
Carolyn Crawford, who faced imprisonment at the age of 64 for embezzling over $400,000 from her employer to sustain her poker machine addiction, expressed her belief that these reforms would lead to a significant and positive impact.