The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, and the gaming minister, Melissa Horne, announced a series of reforms for electronic gaming machines in the state on Sunday.
Under the changes, poker machines in Victoria will require mandatory pre-commitment limits and carded play.
Load-up limits – how much money an individual can put into a gambling machine at a time – will be capped at $100, down from the current limit of $1,000. The changes are expected to be in place by the end of the year.
Carded play will be mandatory for poker machines, which the government says will stop money laundering through gaming venues.
Machines will be slowed to a spin rate of three seconds per game, limiting the amount of money that can be lost.
By mid-2024, mandatory closure periods will be enforced for all gambling machine areas in a venue between 4am and 10am – excluding Melbourne’s Crown casino.
Premier Daniel Andrews said the changes would give Victoria the toughest electronic gambling restrictions in Australia.
“These reforms will provide the strongest gambling harm preventions and anti-money laundering measures in Australia,” he said. “We owe it to all Victorians to take this stance and help those experiencing harm turn their lives around.”
“Gambling is, for the majority of Victorians, a perfectly legitimate recreational activity but for some, and I think it’s a growing number, it is the cause of profound harm,” he said.
The government says an estimated 330,000 Victorians each year experience harm as a result of gambling, with losses nearing $7 billion.
The government has also revealed some of the services previously provided by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation will be taken over by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) from July 1, 2024.
The VGCCC was allocated $71 million in the state budget to take on a larger role in gambling harm minimisation.
Community Clubs Victoria (CCV) said it welcomed moves to curb money laundering activities but questioned whether smaller clubs required the same restrictions imposed on casinos and bigger venues.
“The average gaming room at a not-for-profit community club in Victoria is 54 EGMs with a substantial framework of compliance and systems, self-exclusion program and responsible gaming officers supervising the room,” CCV chief executive Andrew Lloyd said.
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