The Andrews Labor Government is introducing sweeping new reforms to protect Victorians from gambling harm – making the state’s gambling harm protections the strongest in Australia.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne announced new reforms to reduce gambling harm at venues with electronic gaming machines (EGMs) across the state.
An estimated 330,000 Victorians experience harm as a result of gambling each year – costing Victoria around $7 billion annually and leading to significant financial distress, mental health concerns and relationship issues.
All EGMs in Victoria will require mandatory pre-commitment limits and carded play, putting the power back into the hands of patrons while also ensuring that money is tracked – stopping money laundering through our gaming venues.
Load up limits – how much money an individual can put into an EGM at a time – will be capped at $100, down from the current limit of $1000, helping people make informed decisions about their spending, change their behaviour and reduce the amount that can be lost.
Mandatory pre-commitment, carded play and load up limits will be introduced subject to thorough consultation with industry through an implementation working group – taking into account trials in other jurisdictions and the experience at Crown Melbourne, which will have mandated pre-commitment and carded play on all EGMs by the end of 2023.
By mid-2024, mandatory closure periods will be enforced for all gaming machine areas in a venue, except the casino, between 4 am and 10 am. This will address evidence showing some venues are implementing staggered opening hours to allow users to move between venues in one area to continue gambling.
The Government will also make it mandatory for all new EGMs to spin at a rate of three seconds per game, slowing the pace of the game down and limiting the amount that can be lost.
These combined reforms will keep pace with emerging technologies gaming machines are using, produce safer gambling environments and help patrons to take a break.
These reforms extend changes the Government introduced after the findings of the Royal Commission to other gaming venues across the state, building on nation-leading protections introduced at Crown and the establishment of the nation’s strongest regulator – the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC).
This year’s Budget includes $71 million for the VGCCC to take on a larger role in gambling harm minimisation, taking over most of the functions of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation from 1 July 2024.
Anyone affected by their own or someone else’s gambling can call Gambler’s Help 24/7 on 1800 858 858 to access confidential and free advice, support and referral.
Premier Daniel Andrews said: “These reforms will provide the strongest gambling harm preventions and anti-money laundering measures in Australia – we owe it to all Victorians to take this stance and help those experiencing harm turn their lives around.
“I look forward to the implementation working group’s input and effort.”
Melissa Horne, Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, said: “Everyone loses when it comes to gambling harm, and it’s not confined to money – people lose their relationships, their jobs and their wellbeing.
“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 reduce gambling-related harm.”