New laws crack down on Vic casino, punters

·2-min read

Visitors to Crown Melbourne will be forced to set gambling limits when they play the pokies and stick to a casino-wide maximum cash spending limit of $1000 within 24 hours under new laws.

The package of reforms, which covers 12 recommendations from the royal commission, has been described by the Andrews government as a "world first" and the strongest measures for any Australian casino.

Introduced to parliament on Tuesday, the laws will include the forced fixture of a maximum gambling limit on pokies for all Australian residents.

The use of cash will also be limited to $1000 per 24 hours to address major money-laundering risks and patrons will have to use casino-issued cards and show ID to gamble or receive winnings of more than $1000.

"This legislation is the next step in our nation-leading reforms to ensure the disgraceful conduct uncovered by the royal commission will never happen again in Melbourne," Gaming Minister Melissa Horne said.

"Some of the strongest protections in the world will now be in place at Melbourne's Crown casino - including mandatory pre-commitment."

The royal commission found Crown engaged in a range of illegal and exploitative behaviour, including facilitating money laundering, although it stopped short of recommending the company lose its casino license.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission has directed Crown Melbourne to hold a single bank account for patrons to deposit funds into.

The mandatory pre-commitment for the casino's pokies is expected to come into effect by the end of 2023, but the full reforms must be implemented by December 2025 at the latest, the government said.

That's to allow for some technologies to be developed when they don't currently exist.

The government intends to work with Crown and the casino commission to set a timeline for the remaining reforms.

The new laws will also mean any person or entity wanting to own more than five per cent of the casino operator or its holding company has to get approval from the commission.

Additionally, Crown will be forced to pay to regulate the casino and smoking will be banned in high-roller rooms in line with other jurisdictions including Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.

"We're getting on with holding Crown to account and implementing every one of the royal commission's recommendations," Ms Horne said.

Nine recommendations remain outstanding, and the government says it will implement them over the next 12 months.

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