Unveiling New Gambling Regulations
In a significant move towards a safer gambling environment, the state of Victoria in Australia is introducing robust reforms to curb gambling harm and prevent money laundering. Interestingly, these changes won’t apply to Crown Resorts’ Crown Melbourne casino, which has been under investigation for alleged links with money laundering activities and organized crime.
The new regulations primarily impact the hospitality industry, including restaurants, pubs, and bars. The reforms are extensive and aim to change the way consumers interact with slot machines, locally known as pokies. The daily gambling limit will be substantially reduced from AUD1,000 to just AUD100 (US$1,467 to $146), making it one of the lowest in the country.
Additionally, the government is introducing mandatory pre-commitment limits. Before starting their pokie session, gamblers must set their intended daily, weekly, and monthly expenditures. This measure aims to promote responsible gambling and curb excessive spending on these machines. To enforce this rule, players will now be required to show identification before using online slot machines.
Changes in Operating Hours and Gameplay Speed
Another significant change includes restricting operating hours of gaming venues. Starting next year, all such venues will have to turn off their machines from 4-10 AM every day. This move is designed to prevent continuous gambling sprees by disallowing gamblers from moving from one venue to another throughout the night.
The speed of the slot machines will also be slowed down. The reels, which currently spin for about two seconds, will now take three seconds to stop. This change aims to reduce the fast-paced nature of the games, which often leads to higher spending.
Despite these comprehensive changes, Crown Melbourne remains exempt. The casino is currently under intense scrutiny and has a designated “supervisor” overseeing its operations in Victoria due to its alleged associations with criminals.
Before these reforms are implemented, the government plans to hold consultations with industry stakeholders. The announcement has already sparked mixed reactions within the industry. While some entities like the Endeavor Group and Lara Sporting Club have expressed concerns about the potential negative impacts on their businesses, others view these reforms as necessary for promoting responsible gambling.
These changes in Victoria could inspire similar transformations in other Australian states, such as New South Wales, which is also considering its gambling reforms. Though the reactions are mixed, these reforms signify a marked shift for online casinos in Australia and the approach to regulating its gambling industry.