The Victorian state government has introduced a bill to parliament that gives it full oversight over mandatory pre-commitment and carded play requirements and the ability to handle casino property at Crown Melbourne should the current operator fail to win back its casino license.
The Gambling Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 will also enforce mandatory closure periods for all gaming machine areas in venues other than the casino between 4am and 10am daily, and extends the gaming minister’s powers to ban harmful betting on activities that take place outside of Victoria, such as on sports played by minors. This, the government said, provides more control over betting that is not in the public interest.
The amended gambling bill was produced in response to the Finkelstein Royal Commission into Crown Melbourne, which saw the operator found unsuitable to retain its casino license but given a two-year reprieve under the purview of a Special Manager to return to suitability. The government has vowed to implement all 33 recommendations to stem from the Royal Commission.
In a statement issued Tuesday morning, the Victorian government said the bill makes it clearer and easier for the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission to deal with casino property if it decides to withhold granting a casino licence, and ensures the mandatory pre-commitment and carded play systems will work across the casino, including on table games.
From December 2023, any person who plays a gaming machine at the casino will be required to track their play using the pre-commitment system, YourPlay. This must also be implemented on table games by December 2025, requiring new table game technology to be developed. Other reforms include mandatory pre-commitment limits and carded play for all electronic gaming machines, capped load up limits of $100 and a slowing of spin rates to reduce the pace of games.
“Our previous reforms have delivered stronger oversight of the gambling industry in Victoria with a regulator unafraid to hold venues to account – now we’re doing more important work to prevent and reduce gambling-related harm,” said Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne.
“We’ve seen predatory behaviour from some venues, allowing people to keep gambling for hours, at any hour. Closing gaming areas between 4am and 10am will give people an important break to reassess and walk away.”