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Gambling, Government VIC

Crown reprieve must be ‘last chance saloon’ – Bolstered regulation and big fines have helped protect casino consumers and reduce gambling harm

Alliance for Gambling Reform 2 mins read

The operators of Melbourne’s Crown Casino are now ‘on notice’ that there must not be any further breach of its licence, after it received another reprieve by the State’s casino regulator.

The chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Carol Bennett, said Crown should make no mistake that it is ‘the last chance saloon’ for them to get their operations right and to protect consumers.

“We acknowledge that the State Government and the VGCCC has acted to protect consumers from the significant harm identified by the Royal Commission. They have improved lax regulation and been prepared to impose fines of hundreds of millions as appropriate to the breaches of Crowns license,” Ms Bennett said.
“Today’s decision reflects that the regulator believes this response has brought Crown into line and has restored faith to the level where they can continue to hold their licence. But make no mistake they are on notice should there be any further breaches of the regulations.”

But Ms Bennett said there remains concerns about the size of the Crown Casino which is more than twice the size of any casino in Las Vagas.

“This Australian phenomenon of massive downtown casino’s is of concern. It means a single operator can have a massive impact on gambling harm. It makes it even more critical that regulators ensure operators do not breaching their own license,” Ms Bennett said.

Ms Bennett said it was now time for the State Government to take the same approach to pubs and clubs and to ensure a level-playing field to ensure they are not simply shifting the problem into the community.

“We have the evidence from Crown that mandatory pre-commitment carded gambling is possible for venues to implement, now the State Government must act on the escalating gambling harm happening across Victoria, in suburbs and country towns.”

Australians lose a staggering $25 billion to gambling every year – more than any other country on earth. Victorians lost $3.022 billion to poker machines alone in 2022-23.

These losses represent social harm on an industrial scale leading to financial loss, family breakdown and violence, health and mental health issues including suicide.

“All of Victoria deserves the same protection from gambling harm as patrons at Crown. Now is the time for the State to implement mandatory carded play with binding, and ideally default, limits for pubs and clubs,” Ms Bennett said.

Carol Bennett is available for interview.

About us:

The Alliance is a national advocacy organisation which works to prevent and minimise the harm from gambling. Our aim is to remove the shame that surrounds gambling addiction, have the problem treated as a public health issue, and achieve the legislative changes needed to protect our communities. We bring together well over 60 organisations who share the objectives of preventing harm from gambling.

Contact details:

Carol Bennett is available for interview.

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

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