August 3, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

Requiring gamblers to set a loss limit on gaming machines before they play and limiting cash gambling to $1,000 in 24 hours are two of the new rules the Victorian government wants to impose on Melbourne’s Crown Casino as it seeks to legislate more of the recommendations made by the Royal Commission into the casino, which found it unsuitable to hold a gaming licence.

Those wishing to gamble with or receive winnings of more than $1,000 at the casino will be required to use casino issued cards and show ID.

These proposed laws are a first for Australia and herald potentially the strictest casino controls in the country, if they’re passed by the state parliament.

Other proposed laws which are part of a Bill tabled in state parliament yesterday include mandatory approval of casino operator ownership changes greater than five per cent by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission, making the casino’s senior management and board directly accountable to the casino operator rather than its parent or holding company, having Crown pay for its own regulation costs and banning smoking in the casino’s high roller rooms.

If the legislation is passed, the compulsory pre-commitment to maximum funds lost on pokies machines will need to be in place by the end of 2023, but “to allow for the development of technologies that do not currently exist” the full package of reforms has a final implementation deadline of December 2025.

“This legislation is the next step in our national-leading reforms to ensure the disgraceful conduct uncovered by the Royal Commission will never happen again in Melbourne,” said Victoria’s Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Melissa Horne.

“Some of the strongest protections in the world will now be in place at Melbourne’s Crown Casino – including mandatory pre-commitment.”

“We’re getting on with holding Crown to account and implementing every one of the Royal Commission’s recommendations.”

In its statement, the Victorian Government said that if the casino does demonstrate suitability, it will have its licence automatically cancelled in 2024.

Crown’s Melbourne complex includes significant event space and luxury hotel offerings, in close proximity to Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, so major disruption to Crown’s business could have a noticeable impact on business events infrastructure in Melbourne.