Patrons in Melbourne’s Crown Casino will be obliged to make mandatory 15-minute breaks after three continuous hours of gambling, as well as follow other gambling limitations announced Monday by the Government of the Australian Province of Victoria to reduce problem gambling issues in the resort.
The governmental move brings the casino operator under the spotlight two years after the Royal Commission approved that the Crown was eligible to keep the casino license. The reforms include a 15-minute break after three consecutive hours of gambling and a 24-hour break after 12 hours of gambling in a day for all Crown’s patrons, as well as the restriction to 36 gambling hours in a single week in the operator’s Melbourne facility.
Addressing Problem Gambling:
As ABC reports, Melissa Horne, Victoria’s Casino, and Gaming minister said that the measures will help address problem gambling at the resort and empower Crown Casino employees to turn away the gamblers that failed to follow the mandatory break requirements.
“Some of the evidence that we saw during the Royal Commission showed incredibly predatory behavior on people that were clearly struggling on the casino floor and in the pokie machine rooms in particular,” Horne said, and added: “I think being able to encourage a patron to take a break from the gambling floor and to discuss harm services is another important step in making sure that we’ve got a casino that has to be a global leader in the reduction of gambling harm.”
The regulation follows a series of controversial events that brought the operator to the verge of losing its casino license in 2021. Royal Commission reviewed allegations of the Crown’s connections with criminal gangs and involvement in money laundering activities and incurred hundreds of millions of dollars of state taxes and fines to the operator which narrowly avoided losing the license.
The latest problem gambling restrictions imposed on the Crown’s Melbourne venue follow the US$ 77 million fine paid in November 2022 for the company’s failure to comply with responsible gaming laws. The measure may help establish safe gambling practices in the Melbourne resort, but gaming experts are warning that the reforms would not be effective unless they were implemented across the province as gamblers can simply move to pubs or clubs where the restrictions do not apply.
Experts Advocate Translation of Measures:
Carol Bennett, chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, reportedly said: “Our recommendation has always been that the measures put in place in Crown should also be translated into pubs and clubs because we’re otherwise just shifting the problem.” She said that the implementation of the new rules would be difficult for this reason. and added that it was disappointing that the reforms were not more comprehensive.
Bennett also expressed her disappointment that the reforms didn’t go beyond the scope recommended by the ‘‘devastating and quite catastrophic” Royal Commission. But she said that the government’s move to have Melbourne’s Crown Casino patrons obliged to make mandatory gambling breaks was a welcome step in the right direction. ”But gee, we’ve got a lot of steps to take,” she added.