The Victorian state government unveiled tougher restrictions on poker machines, including slower spin times, mandatory closure periods and limits on daily poker machine losses.
A spokesperson for Endeavour Group – Australia’s biggest pub owner, whose shares dropped on Monday – said the company would work with the government to determine timelines and models for the proposed reforms.
Andrew Lloyd, the chief executive of Community Clubs Victoria (CCV), which represents pubs and clubs said smaller clubs, particularly in regional areas, would be adversely affected by the overhaul.
“If their businesses are detrimentally affected, there has to be a way out or a compensation package.”
The crackdown on the state’s 27,372 machines in pubs, clubs and hotels, which Premier Daniel Andrews claims would give Victoria the toughest gambling and anti-money laundering measures in Australia, follows a decision to enforce mandatory pre-commitment rules for the 2628 machines at Crown.
In September, Gaming Minister Melissa Horne assured CCV that pubs and clubs wouldn’t face similar regulatory restrictions to casinos (who have had to enforce mandatory pre-commitment rules) despite warnings from gambling experts, federal agency AUSTRAC and Crown that the casino crackdown would push problem gambling and money laundering into pubs and clubs in the suburbs.
Lara Sporting Club general manager Brendon Chavasse said he had been blindsided by the announcement. He said small, not-for-profit clubs support thousands of jobs across the state and “pump hundreds and thousands of dollars into the community”.
“Without gaming machines our clubs would cease to exist,” he said.