Sweeping restrictions on the operations of Melbourne’s Crown casino, forcing punters to set limits on their time and losses, have passed the Victorian parliament.
The casino will need to set the new limitations by the end of next year under the legislation, which passed the upper house on Tuesday afternoon, a month after the bill was first introduced to parliament.
The full changes contained in the Casino Legislation Amendment (Royal Commission Implementation and Other Matters) Bill 2022 must be introduced at the casino by no later than December 2025, to allow for the development of technology that does not currently exist.
A cash cap of $1000 every 24 hours will need to be implemented by the end of next year to tackle money laundering, and anyone who gambles more than that will have to use casino-issued cards.
Crown will be stripped of its licence for its Melbourne flagship casino automatically next year unless it can prove it has cleaned up its act, having been found to engage in “illegal, dishonest, unethical and exploitative” behaviour.
A royal commission found “a catalogue of wrongdoing”.
“Some was so callous that it is hard to imagine it could be engaged in by such a well-known corporation,” former Federal Court judge Ray Finkelstein said in his royal commission inquiry.
Finkelstein found Crown was not suitable to hold a licence in Melbourne, but gave the operator two years to reform because of the harm an immediate shutdown would do to the Victorian economy and to thousands of workers.
Greens leader Samantha Ratnam said Crown accounted for just 10 per cent of Victoria’s poker machines.
“If the Victorian Labor government was serious about minimising gambling harm it would introduce these limits everywhere, not just at Crown,” she said.
“Now is the time for this government to stand up to their gambling industry mates and say ‘enough is enough’.”
Premier Daniel Andrews said the government was clearly supportive of requiring punters to make pre-gambling commitments on losses and times, despite declining to commit to doing so statewide.
“For some people those machines are dangerous, and our focus has always been on them and trying to provide support, a regulatory framework for that small number of Victorians for whom gambling is a very serious problem,” Andrews said on Tuesday.
“That is not to say, as some would suggest, that all gaming, all wagering, all gambling, is an illegitimate form of recreational activity. That has never been my view. But you’ve got to get that balance right.”
In a statement, a Crown spokeswoman said the casino had made significant progress since the royal commission’s report was handed down.
“Creating a safe and responsible gaming and entertainment environment is our number one priority, and we are committed to delivering on all the reforms.”
Read the full article here: Crown Casino Melbourne: New laws passed in Victorian parliament for gambling limits at Crown (theage.com.au)