The Andrews Labor Government has announced major reforms to the use of electronic gaming machines (EGMs) in venues across Victoria.

The changes announced yesterday by Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne, are aimed at protecting Victorians from gambling harm, which impacts an estimated 330,000 Victorians every year according to the state government.

The reforms will mean all EGMS in Victoria require mandatory pre-commitment limits and carded play, and load up limits, the amount an individual can put into an EGM at a time, will be capped at $100 down from the current limit of $1000.

The Government said that mandatory pre-commitment, carded play and load up limits will be introduced subject to thorough consultation with industry through an implementation working group – taking into account trials in other jurisdictions and the experience at Crown Melbourne, which will have mandated pre-commitment and carded play on all EGMs by the end of 2023.

Premier Andrews said: “These reforms will provide the strongest gambling harm preventions and anti-money laundering measures in Australia – we owe it to all Victorians to take this stance and help those experiencing harm turn their lives around.

“I look forward to the implementation working group’s input and effort.”

The reforms will also introduce mandatory closure periods for all gaming machine areas in a venue, except the casino, between 4am and 10am. The Government will also make it mandatory for all new EGMs to spin at a rate of three seconds per game, slowing the pace of the game down.

The Government said these combined reforms will keep pace with emerging technologies gaming machines are using, to produce safer gambling environments and help patrons to take a break.

Minister Horne said: “Everyone loses when it comes to gambling harm, and it’s not confined to money – people lose their relationships, their jobs and their wellbeing.

“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 reduce gambling-related harm.”

The Victorian Government has already introduced reforms after the findings of the Royal Commission to other gaming venues across the state and has allocated $71m for the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission  to take on a larger role in gambling harm minimisation, taking over most of the functions of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation from 1 July 2024.

The Shout has contacted both the Australian Hotels Association and Gaming Technologies Association for comment on these reforms; while neither has responded before this article was published, we will bring you any comment when it comes.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.