The Andrews Government has announced strict reforms on EGMS.

The Andrews Labor Government has announced strict mandatory pre-commitment limits and cashless gaming as part of its sweeping electronic gaming machine reforms in Victoria. All EGMs in Victoria will soon require mandatory pre-commitment limits and carded play, the Government says, which will also ensure that spending is tracked in a bid to stop money laundering through gaming venues.

Load-up limits will be capped at $100, down from the current limit of $1000. The mandatory pre-commitment, carded play and load-up limits will be introduced, subject to consultation with industry through an implementation working group, the Victorian Government said.

“These reforms will provide the strongest gambling harm preventions and anti-money laundering measures in Australia – we owe it to all Victorians to take this stance and help those experiencing harm turn their lives around,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“I look forward to the implementation working group’s input and effort.”

But Community Clubs Victoria Chief Executive, Andrew Lloyd, said not-for-profit club venues in Victoria are not the same as other states, with the average gaming room holding 54 EGMs. He also said there was an existing substantial framework of compliance and systems, self-exclusion program and Responsible Gaming Officers supervising the rooms.

“In Victoria, we have previously had carded poker machines, a feature of the first TabCorp / TABARET poker machines that were proven to be ahead of their time,” he said.

“For that reason, it is not comparable to the gaming environment at a casino, or in other states, particularly in NSW,” he said. “We remain concerned about hyper-regulation and gambling migrating to the online space, without the same supervision and physical environmental supports. We are aware of examples of children obtaining accounts using their grandparents’ ID,” he concluded.

The strict rules follow trials in other jurisdictions and the Crown Melbourne inquiry, with the venue being told to introduce mandated pre-commitment and carded play on all its EGMs by the end of 2023.

By mid-2024, mandatory closure periods will also be enforced for all gaming machine areas in a venue, except the casino, from 4am-10am, in an attempt to address venues implementing staggered opening hours that allowed users to move between venues.

“Our previous reforms have delivered stronger oversight of the gambling industry in Victoria with a regulator unafraid to hold venues to account – now we’re doing more important work to reduce gambling-related harm,” Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne said.

Related article: NSW’s $340 million cashless gaming plan.

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