Unveiling Key Reforms in EGM Operations
The cornerstone of these reforms is the introduction of obligatory pre-commitment limits and carded play for all EGMs (pokies) across Victoria. This significant change in operations will not only mitigate the risk of money laundering but also enable the tracking of money circulated through casinos, thereby aiding in identifying individuals experiencing problem gambling. Moreover, the load-up limits — the maximum amount a player can put into an EGM at one time — will see a drastic reduction from the existing $1,000 to a mere $100, a strategic move aimed at promoting responsible gambling.
Slowing Down the Speed of Play
New EGMs will also be required to implement a compulsory spin rate of at least 3 seconds per game, a measure intended to slow down the pace of play. This regulatory requirement is crucial in helping players maintain control over their gambling, thereby reducing the probability of rapid, successive losses that could lead to serious financial distress.
Introduction of Mandatory Closure Periods
In addition to this, a mandatory daily closure period for all gaming machine areas will be enforced between 4 am and 10 am, excluding the Crown Casino. This ‘cool-off’ period serves as a safeguard, fostering healthier gambling habits among players.
Addressing the Broad Impact of Gambling Harm
Premier Andrews highlighted the broad spectrum of damage caused by problem gambling, from financial loss to the significant impact on mental health, relationships, and overall wellbeing. These reforms, he stated, will provide “the strongest gambling harm preventions and anti-money laundering measures in Australia.”
Victorian Gambling & Casino Control Commission: An Active Role
The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), the state’s gambling regulator, is expected to take on a bigger role in gambling harm reduction, securing most of the functions of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation from 1 July 2024. With a budget of $ 71 million, the VGCCC is equipped to enforce these comprehensive reforms, setting a new standard for gambling regulation in Australia.
These reforms, which promise to position Victoria as a leader in gambling harm prevention, are due to be rolled out by 2024. They underline the state’s commitment to creating safer gambling environments, reflecting a recognition of the grave socio-economic costs of high-stakes gambling Australia.