Australia: Victoria govt announces new reforms to curb gambling harm

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Gaming Minister Melissa Horne and the premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, announced a number of changes to the state’s electronic gambling machines as a way to reduce gambling harm.

With these proposed changes, poker machines in Victoria will now operate with a limit. These include mandatory closing hours, slower spin times and smaller spending limits. There is no clarity whether any or all of these changes will be applicable to online pokies. All of these steps are taken as a part of a recent initiative to reduce problem gambling across Australia.

Some similar steps are in the pipeline for the state of New South Wales (NSW) as well to curb down the harm from gambling. NSW recently decreased the upper cap of deposits in poker machines to AUD 500, down by 90 percent. Moreover, cashless deposits at poker machines will also be implemented shortly.

As for the Victoria’s gambling reforms, they are also expected to be fully implemented by the year-end. The load-up limits for a single users will be capped at AUD 100 as compared to current AUD 1000 limit.

The Victorian government also plans to impose mandatory closure periods for all gaming machines by mid 2024. Melbourne’s Crown Casino is the only exception to this. Furthermore, the spin rate of these poker machines will be lowered to a rate of three seconds a game in order to reduce the amount lost in a short period of time.

“These reforms will provide the strongest gambling harm preventions and anti-money laundering measures in Australia,” Andrews said in a statement as per The Guardian.

“We owe it to all Victorians to take this stance and help those experiencing harm turn their lives around,” he added.

Everyone lost when it comes to gambling, says Melissa Horne

Adding to a statement, Melissa Horne said, “It’s not confined to money. People lose their relationships, their jobs and their wellbeing”.

Recently, an Australia Parliamentary committee also came to a conclusion for a total ban on gambling adverts within the next three years. Parliamentary committee chair Peta Murphy said that an absolute restriction is the only way, as restrictions have only led to an increase in adverts during permitted time.