New laws passed in Victorian parliament for gambling limits at Crown


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The Greens said the law passed on Tuesday was an important first step after the party unsuccessfully pushed for the restrictions to be enforced nationwide.

Green Party leader Samantha Ratnam said Crown accounts for only 10 percent of Victoria’s poker machines.

“If the Victorian Labor Government were serious about minimizing the harm from gambling they would put these restrictions in place everywhere, not just Crown,” she said.

“Now is the time for this government to stand up to their peers in the gaming industry and say ‘enough is enough’.”

Premier Daniel Andrews said the government clearly supports requiring players to make loss and time commitments before playing, although they have refused to do so nationally.

“For some people these machines are dangerous and our focus has always been on them and trying to provide support, a regulatory framework for this small number of Victorians for whom gambling is a very serious problem,” Andrews said on Tuesday.

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“This is not to say, as some would suggest, that all gaming, all betting, all gambling is an illegitimate form of leisure. That has never been my view. But the balance has to be right.”

In a statement, a Crown spokeswoman said the casino had made significant progress since the Royal Commission’s report was handed over.

“Creating a safe and responsible gaming and entertainment environment is our top priority and we are committed to implementing any reforms.”

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The Royal Commission – triggered by a series of reports by Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and 60 minutes in 2019 – investigated Crown’s irresponsible handling of problem gamblers and how it knowingly flouted laws and regulations, evaded Victorian taxes and refused to cooperate with state gaming authorities.

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The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission imposed a record $80 million fine on Crown Resorts in May based on information unearthed at the royal commission, including their practice of accepting Chinese bank cards at Melbourne Casino to fund gambling and to disguise transactions as hotel expenses.

The government also last year raised the maximum fine for violators from $1 million to $100 million.

Labor accepted all 33 recommendations of the Finkelstein Inquiry, 12 of which were dealt with under the new legislation.

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Companies would also be barred from owning more than a 5 per cent stake in the casino operator without the approval of the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission.

Gaming Secretary Melissa Horne said Crown will be held accountable.

“This legislation implements world-leading reforms to ensure the mistakes uncovered by the Royal Commission can never happen again.”

United Workers Union casino organizer Dario Mujkic said workers should have more say in regulating the sector and enforcing harm reduction rules.

“Casino workers know better regulation is needed to ensure casinos are socially licensed to operate so casino jobs are safe and secure.”

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