In the first step of its gaming reform plan, the Gambling Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 has been introduced to the Victorian Parliament to provide a mandated break in play each day. Melissa Horne, Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, has today introduced the bill to Parliament, looking to enforce a mandatory closure period for all gaming machine areas between 4am and 10am every day, in all venues excluding casinos.

Addressing evidence that some venues are staggering opening hours to encourage continued gambling through the movement of patrons between nearby venues, the mandatory closures will come into effect by mid-2024. Horne commented on the gambling harm prevention measure.

“Our previous reforms have delivered stronger oversight of the gambling industry in Victoria with a regulator unafraid to hold venues to 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.”

Following the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence, the Victorian Government committed to introducing sweeping gaming reforms and is working to implement the Commission’s 33 recommendations.

The reforms include amendments that will make it easier for the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) to deal with casino property if it decides to withhold a casino licence, as well as mandating pre-commitment and carded play systems in casinos.

In July, major reforms to the use of electronic gaming machines were announced by the Victorian government, including mandatory pre-commitment limits and carded play for all electronic gaming machines, with load-up limits capped at $100 and spin rates slowed to reduce the pace of games.

AHA (Vic) was contacted for comment, but did not respond in time for publication.

The Government will consult with industry as part of an implementation working group.

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