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Australian governments have been enacting new gambling policies following multiple casino scandals in the region. On Tuesday, the Victoria Parliament passed the Casino Legislation Amendment Bill 2022. The bill incorporates many changes recommended by the Royal Commission following its investigation into Crown Melbourne.
These amendments will drastically change business practices and will require pre-commitments from players going forward. Also, the bill implements spending caps on players and forces greater accountability from casino management.
The Casino Legislation Amendment Bill 2022 passed on Tuesday in the Victoria Parliament following much debate. Under the bill, sweeping changes will be implemented on how business is conducted by Crown Melbourne and impacts all aspects of the casino.
For players, there will be changes that impact how they play and interact with the casino. For starters, a pre-commitment system for pokie machines must be instituted by the end of 2023. This will require players to commit to how much they plan to spend on real money pokies. Tasmania is instituting a similar process for its live pokies.
Next, if a player wins more than AU$1,000, they will go through identification checks. This is to combat money laundering. The Royal Commission found some criminals were laundering huge sums of money through the casino without any form of identity verification.
Perhaps the largest change in the bill for players will be a hard cap for wagering. Players will have a loss limit of AU$1,000 in a 24-hour period. The pre-commitment system will track limits for Australian players. This measure is two-fold. It protects players from potential gambling harm but also prevents money laundering.
The Amendment Bill will also institute changes for management at Crown Melbourne. Senior management and casino board members now must act in the casino’s best interest rather than the interests of the parent company. Both will be held accountable to the casino operator. This ensures decisions will protect players and the casino rather than the profit margins of the parent or holding company.
Next, anyone wishing to own more than 5 percent of either the casino’s holding company or the operator must receive approval from the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC). This will help the VGCCC weed out any potential bad actors. It also potentially prevents one person or company from holding too much influence over the casino.
The new regulations being imposed on Crown Melbourne are part of an eventual endgame for the casino. The casino must show it can comply with new, existing, and even future regulations in order to keep its licence. According to reports, parliament will be implementing additional proposals over the next year. Many will be known by the end of 2022.
If Crown Resorts does not show an ability to comply with regulations, the casino will be automatically stripped of its Victoria licence in 2024. The new regulations are not surprising, considering the findings of the Royal Commission. The question is now whether Crown Resorts will be able to show compliance to the satisfaction of lawmakers.
Some players may react negatively to some of the restrictions, and this is understandable. However, they will not be a problem for many players as they do not gamble more than $1,000 per day. While some people do not appreciate government involvement in gambling affairs, the new regulations will benefit players. They will ensure that Crown Resorts adheres to long-established policies regarding money laundering, and they should help to reduce gambling harm to players.