Victoria’s State Government Rolls Out Pre-Commitment Time and Spending Limits for Crown Melbourne Pokies

Customers of Crown Casino in Melbourne will be forced to pre-commit to certain limits for time and money spent on so-called pokies as part of the latest round of reforms introduced by the Andrews Government.

The set of 12 measures comes as the latest one from the 33 recommendations issued by the Royal Commission following an alarming range of wrongdoing at the only casino resort in the state of Victoria.

Crown Melbourne, which is currently the biggest single-site employer in the state, has been given the chance to keep its operating licence in case it makes sure it meets several conditions, including the implementation of the aforementioned reforms. Under the legislative provisions that are being introduced by the Andrews Government in the state of Victoria, all casino patrons would be required to set a maximum limit on their losses before being allowed to play the poker machines. The move has been described as “a world-first” by Melissa Horne, the local Gaming Minister.

For the time being, the technology necessary for the enforcement of the time and spending limits does not exist. The limits on the time and money will be fully up to the casino patron.

Crown Melbourne, which has been among the gambling assets involved in the AU$8.9-billion takeover of Crown Resorts’ operations by the US private equity giant Blackstone, will be given until the end of the following year to implement the mandatory pre-commitment technology in place. The Gaming Minister noted that the operator needs to make sure that the service is fully rolled out by no later than the end of 2025.

Newest Requirements for Poker Machine Limits at Crown Melbourne Welcomed by Campaigners

The news of the implementation of the new time and spending limits on poker machines at Crown Melbourne was welcomed by Tim Costello, a long-time anti-gambling campaigner and Chief Advocate at the Alliance for Gambling Reform. He called it a historic day for the Victorian State Government and local people, as Crown Resorts had fully dominated the local gambling market. According to Mr Costello, the implementation of the pre-commitment system should become available not only in Crown Melbourne but across all venues that offer poker machines to Victorian residents.

Currently, there are about 2,600 pokies available in Crown Melbourne, which is approximately 10% of the overall number of 26,321 poker machines situated in the state. According to government statistics, more than AU$1.5 billion is being lost by Victorian residents on the machines every year.

The Gaming Minister has been asked whether the pre-commitment limits were likely to be enforced not only on Crown Melbourne but on other gambling venues across the state, too. Ms Horne has explained that the Andrews Government was primarily focused on the implementation of the Royal Commission’s recommendation for the operation of Crown Resorts.

As reported by Charles Livingstone, a gambling researcher at Monash University, there had been an optional pre-commitment system for bets in the state. This system, however, is only optional and is not a requirement, so currently, less than 1% of people prefer to take advantage of it. Mr Livingstone believes that the Government now has to make it a universal requirement so that pokie players are given the chance to better control the time and money spent on the machines.

  • Author

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.
Daniel Williams
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