Victoria Leading The Way To Set Limits On Pokies

by jiffee on December 20, 2012

Any Victorian gaming establishment featuring video poker machines will soon need to upgrading their machines to conform with federal laws. Owners will have to install a new limiting technology that gives players a chance to set a hard limit on how much money they can lose in one session. This simple but powerful upgrade is very controversial among gamers, venue owners and politicians. Another part of the law limits the amount that a player can withdraw from an ATM in a venue to just $250, but this won’t affect Victoria because it has even stricter laws.

The government developed reforms for pokies control in November. However, the legislation was changed significantly before it was approved. Establishments lobbied for an additional two years to comply with the rules. This means that venues can wait until 2018 to install these limiting devices on their equipment. Michael O’Brien, the current Victorian Gaming Minister, has announced that the province is pushing to set the limit even closer by instituting precommitment upgrades by 2016.
The federal laws have slightly different requirements for establishments based on the number of poker machines they host. Establishments featuring at least 20 gaming machines can delay their precommitment until 2018, which accounts for most of the businesses in Victoria. Smaller places, with just 10 or 11 games, have a chance to delay the changes until 2022. Any establishment hosting under 10 machines don’t need to install any upgrades right away, but will need to implement the technology on any new machines they add.
Victoria passed a series of statewide laws recently as well that are slightly stricter than the ones at the federal level. However, the representatives report that they won’t clash with the other reform measures. Victorian lawmakers also pushed to remove ATMs from gaming venues earlier this year and implemented the rule in July. This is all part of a bigger focus on curbing the development of gambling addictions in the communities of Victoria. Early reports show that this may have cut spending in the venues by a full $62 million.
The Victorian Gaming Minister also said that the province is aiming to act as a role model for gaming reform through the country. They have developed their own independent foundation to encourage responsible gaming, along with increased support to help train staff at gaming venues. More details will be announced after the new year.

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