The bill will enforce mandatory closure periods for gaming machines.
Australia.- The minister for casino, gaming and liquor regulation Melissa Horne has today (October 3) introduced the Gambling Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 to Parliament in Victoria. The primary feature is mandatory closure periods for gaming machine areas in venues excluding the state’s casino between 4am and 10am. The rule would come into force by mid-2024.
The government said the move was because of evidence that some venues have been manipulating opening hours to encourage patrons to go on to nearby establishments for uninterrupted gambling sessions. The change is intended to provide an obligatory pause in gameplay to reflect on their decisions and potential financial consequences.
The bill also allows the minister to prohibit harmful betting activities beyond the state borders of Victoria, for example on sports involving minors. Meanwhile, from December 2023 onwards, players will need to use the pre-commitment system, YourPlay, to use casino gaming machines. By December 2025, the system will be expanded to table games like poker and baccarat, necessitating the development of new table game technology to facilitate compliance.
The government said: “The bill follows the Government’s commitment in July 2023 to introduce sweeping reforms to provide Victorians with the strongest gambling harm protections in the country.” These comprehensive reforms encompass mandatory pre-commitment limits and carded play for all electronic gaming machines, capped load up limits of AU$100, and a reduction in spin rates to slow the pace of games.
Horne said: “Our previous reforms have delivered stronger oversight of the gambling industry in Victoria with a regulator unafraid to hold venuesto account – now we’re doing more important work to prevent and reduce gambling-related harm.
“We’ve seen predatory behaviour from some venues, allowing people to keep gambling for hours, at any hour. Closing gaming areas between 4am and 10am will give people an important break to reassess and walk away.”
The government says it will consult with industry via an implementation working group.