The Allan Labor Government has taken its first step in implementing its nation-leading reforms to protect Victoria residents from gambling harm.
Melissa Horne, the Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, introduced on the first week of October the Gambling Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 to Parliament, which shall enforce mandatory closure periods for all gaming machine areas in venues except the casino from 4am to 10am daily.
This addresses the fact that some venues stagger their open hours to encourage patrons to move between nearby venues just to continue gambling once one closes.
An important gambling harm prevention measure is by providing people with a break in play, as it gives them ample time to stop and mull over the decisions they are making and whether they are prepared to potentially lose more money. The mandatory closures shall come into effect by mid-2024.
The Government moved quickly to implement the Commission's 33 recommendations as a response to the alarming behavior revealed by the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and License.
The Bill builds on this work by making it easier and clearer for the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission to deal with casino property if it decides to hold back on granting a casino license. It also ensures the mandatory pre-commitment and carded play systems will work across the casino, including on table games.
From December 2023, anyone who plays a gaming machine at a casino will be required to track their play activity using the pre-commitment system, YourPlay.
By December 2025, this must be implemented on table games such as baccarat and poker, thus requiring new table game technology to be developed.
The Bills comes after the Government's commitment in July 2023, to introduce extensive reforms to provide Victorians with the strongest gambling harm protections in Australia.
The package of reforms includes:
- Mandatory pre-commitment limits
- Carded play for all electronic gaming machines
- Capped load up limits of $100
- Slowing of spin rates to reduce the pace of games
Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne said:
"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.
We've seen predatory behavior 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."