In the States of America, it is unthinkable that the government would be able to tell you what you can spend your money on (within reason, of course). Imagine if you can that a country would allow for casinos to exist, but then would restrict how much you could wager in them. That seems to be going on at this moment in Australia, or at least in one of its provinces, and the results could be devastating to the province’s economy.
Victoria Enacts Betting Limits on ALL Players
According to journalists Josh Gordon and Ashleigh McMillan of Melbourne’s newspaper The Age, new guidelines have been put in place that will force all people who enter and play poker machines in the province’s casinos to set a binding limit on the amount that they will play. In addition to this “reform,” all casinos in the province will have to shut down for a minimum of six hours per day. These rules, however, have not been put into action at this time.
The reason for these new regs? The Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, has stated that the new regulations are necessary to fight the plague of money laundering in the province’s gaming outlets. The poker machines, as quoted by Gordon and McMillan, “are the cause of terrible harm,” according to Andrews. “All of us pay the price…more than $7 billion a year.”
One of the things that will be changed is the amount of money a player can bet at a time in a machine. Currently, in the Victorian casinos, that limit is $1000 (Australian), but that will be cut down to only $100. Machines will also see their “spin rate” – the time it takes for a game to be completed – from its current 2.1 seconds to three seconds.
Andrews stated that, by the middle of 2024, there will be mandatory closures put in place between the hours of 4 AM and 10 AM for gaming machines. This will be across the board, except for the major player in the Australian gaming realm, the Crown Casino in Melbourne. The reasoning behind the mandatory closure is that regulators saw that the casinos were conspiring to stagger their closures, which allowed gamblers to shift from casino to casino and continue to play.
Australians Enjoy Their Gaming…
In the province of Victoria, 27,372 poker machines are located in bars, “social clubs” and hotels across the region. This also takes into account that almost 10% of the machines (2628) are located at the Crown Casino in Melbourne alone. The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission reports that the province’s players are an active bunch and that they are racking up some significant losses.
The VGCCC reports that, over the Fiscal Year 2023, losses by gamers in Victoria have totaled $2.8 billion. Over the same Fiscal Year 2022 period, losses totaled up to $2 billion. This increase in losses is why the VGCCC and the premier of Victoria have been so vehement in their moves toward controlling the amount of gaming in the province. The limits being placed are the first steps, according to VGCCC chair Fran Thorn. “We will…enforce (the new rules) with our full regulatory powers,” Gordon and McMillan report Thorn as saying. “Mandatory carded play…and reducing the amount of money that can be loaded into an electronic gaming machine are key anti-money laundering measures that will contribute to ensuring the integrity of Victoria’s gambling industry.”
We may think that we have it bad here in the States when it comes to the patchwork regulatory structures of gaming laws, but it could be worse – we could have the rules that Australia has put in place, including absolutely NO online casino gaming or poker allowed in the country.