Crown Melbourne Targeted By VGCCC Amidst Stringent Reforms
- Under the new changes, gaming machine venues will be required to close between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m.
- Mandatory pre-commitment limits and carded play will be implemented by Dec 2023
- The VGCCC will have stronger oversight of the Crown Melbourne casino
The Australian state of Victoria has introduced amendments to its gaming laws as part of its campaign to reduce gambling-related harm. Under the new changes, the state government will supervise the implementation of carded play across gaming venues, with mandatory closure periods also set to be enforced for venues operating slot machines.
Victoria plans to start implementing the new rules by December 2023, with the YourPlay system also set to be applied to table games by December 2025.
Mandatory Closure Periods, Carded Play On the Way
Introduced to Parliament by Victoria’s Minister for Casino, Gaming, and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne, the Gambling Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 focuses on curbing the operations of gaming machines in venues throughout the state.
The Bill requires all gaming machine venues in Victoria, except the casino at Crown Melbourne, to close between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. daily. The measure is aimed at giving people a much-needed break from gambling amid reports some venues had been tolerating excessive gambling by customers by keeping their gaming areas open all the time, an act described as “predatory” by Minister Horne.
Other key reforms set out in the Bill include the implementation of carded play and mandatory pre-commitment limits for all gaming machines.
Customers will be required to obtain a card which would be programmed with their identifying information. They must then set a maximum daily/weekly spending limit. They won’t be able to play any machine in the state without the card. Once the predetermined spending limit is reached, the customer can no longer play any machine throughout Victoria for the rest of the day or week. These processes will be facilitated via the YourPlay system.
The major reforms will also see load-up limits, which refer to the amount of money a player can put into a gaming machine at a time, capped at $100, significantly down from the existing cap of $1,000. Slower spin rates will also be implemented to slow the pace of the game and limit the amount of losses for players.
VGCCC to Have Stronger Oversight of Crown Melbourne
The amendments will also grant the state’s gambling regulator, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), stronger oversight of Crown Melbourne, the only licensed casino in the state which was subject to a Royal Commission inquiry and in 2021 was found unsuitable to hold its gaming license.
The property was allowed to continue to operate and was given two years to return to suitability under the supervision of a Special Manager.