Gambling Legislation

Australian state revamps gaming legislation following casino failures

Australian state revamps gaming legislation following casino failures

Casino operators failed to comply with regulations for years, leading to major changes

Victoria, Australia, has introduced its earlier announced gambling harms bill, which would establish a curfew at most electronic gaming machine venues in the Australian state. Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne forwarded the Gambling Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 to the Victorian parliament.

The government says the measure was introduced to the gambling bill to prevent staggered opening hours, which allowed some providers to urge customers to move to a different venue to continue gambling. If successful, the reforms package would enforce the curfew beginning in mid-2024, which would ban customers from accessing pokie areas from 4 AM to 10 AM.

Other proposed reforms include carded pay for all pokie machines and mandatory pre-commitment limits. The Victorian government will also cap load-up limits at AU$100 and reduce spin rates to lower the speed of the games.

The government reforms were introduced in July after a high-profile scandal involving Crown Resorts Casino’s Melbourne property.

Ray Finkelstein, AO QC, led the Royal Commission inquiry, making 33 recommendations to the government, which were eventually passed. This was after the report found the operator “unsuitable” to hold a Victoria casino license.

“We’ve seen predatory behavior from some venues, allowing people to keep gambling for hours, at any hour. Closing gaming areas between 4 AM and 10 AM will give people an important break to reassess and walk away,” said Horne.

Measures designed to allow the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission to effectively deal with casinos that have lost their license are also included in the bill.

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