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Victoria introduces bill to reform gambling

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Victoria, a state in Australia, has announced its gambling harms legislation, which amongst other measures would establish a curfew enforced for the majority of pokies within that state.

Melissa Horne is Victoria’s Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation. She has introduced the Gambling Legislation Amendment Bill to 2023 in the State’s Parliament.

A curfew for electronic gaming machines will begin in mid-2024 if the reform package is successful.

The law would prohibit hotel guests and bar customers from entering pokie rooms between 4am to 10am. This law only allows casinos to let punters play during these hours.

Victoria’s government has said that it introduced the measure in the Gambling Bill to stop the practice of staggered hours. The government argued that some venues did this in order to get customers to switch between different venues within a certain area to keep gambling.

The introduction of pre-commitment limit and carded playing for all machines is another reform. To slow down the speed of play, government officials will limit load-ups to AU$100.

As part of a working group to implement these measures, the government intends on consulting with the industry.

Crown scandal reforms

In July, the government announced that it would implement reforms. The announcement came after a scandal at Crown Resorts Melbourne, a casino owned by the Australian casino giant Crown Resorts.

Ray Finkelstein, AO, QC led the Royal Commission investigation, and made 33 recommendations for the government. These were accepted. The report found that the casino operator was “unsuitable to have a licence” in Victoria.

Horne said that “our previous reforms” had resulted in a stronger regulatory oversight of Victoria’s gambling industry, with venues being held accountable by a regulator who was not afraid to do so. Now we are doing a greater amount to reduce and prevent gambling-related harm.

We’ve witnessed predatory behavior from some casinos, which allowed people to gamble for hours at a time. Closed gaming between 4am-10am gives people a chance to take a break, reevaluate and leave.

Victoria Gambling Bill Expands Government Power

A more general extension of the powers of the minister for gambling is also on the agenda. Ministers would be able to restrict betting on sports that are deemed harmful by government officials.

This bill includes measures to help the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission better manage casinos who lose their license.

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