State of Victoria Introduces Cool-off Period at Crown Melbourne

The Australian state of Victoria has introduced new responsible gaming measures at the Crown Melbourne Casino. This includes a mandatory cool-off period. The Australian minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor regulation, Melissa Horne, has informed the casino to update its responsible gambling code of conduct.

Under the new gambling rules, any visitor at the casino who exceeds playing 12 hours in a 24-hour period must take a 24-hour break. Individuals will be subject to a maximum limit of 36 hours of gambling per week at one of the biggest casinos in Australia.

As a result, Crown’s responsible gambling staff will have powers to exclude a customer from the casino floor. The measure affects the land based casino of Crown Melbourne. The venue will also be expected to introduce 15-minute breaks if a person has been playing for more than 3 continuous hours.

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Become a Global Leader in Reducing Gambling Harm

With the measures, Crown Melbourne is expected to show its role as a reference in the global industry. Horne wants the measures in Melbourne to serve as an example.

“This direction reflects my expectations that Crown Melbourne needs to aim to become a global leader in the combat against gambling harm – or lose their licence,” warned Horne.

She added:

Crown Melbourne is right on track to implement mandatory pre-commitment in all electronic pokie machines by the end of 2023. When combined with the stricter code of conduct, the harm reduction measures will be world leading for a casino as big as this one.”

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Royal Commission

In a statement the Australian government also communicated that it is continuing to make sure the lessons of the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence are implemented at the Melbourne casino. The Commission – which concluded October 2021 – was scathing for its “illegal, unethical and exploitative” behaviour. The report published by the inquiry found that the casino was not deemed “suitable” to hold a licence in Victoria – but at the same time decided that Crown should not immediately lose its licence. This decision was made due to concerns about the economic impact of such a measure in the region. The revenue in 2020-2021 was reported at A$8.71 billion (NZ$ 9.31 million).

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33 Recommendations Made By The Commission

Instead, the Commission made a number of other stringent recommendations, of which one concerned new safer gambling responsibilities to prevent gambling harm. The government argued that these new measures represent them implementing that item from the report. Of the 33 recommendations made in the report, the government said that 29 have either been fully implemented or legislated or are awaiting implementation. This should be in the “next few months”.

In addition, staff at the casino will also be issued new training with regard to how and when they should interact with a person demonstrating “observable signs” of gambling harm. This includes encouraging breaks and sharing harm services. The local government said that the new direction was established following sessions with a number of stakeholders including the union, advocacy groups and harm researchers. Crown has been given 6 months to update its code in accordance with the new direction. Any breaches of the code could result in disciplinary action from the regulator, with a maximum fine of NZ$ 107.49m.

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Approach that Works With Evidence-Based Warnings

Minister Horne also addressed gambling advertisers to replace the previous “gamble responsibly” taglines on advertisements with new warnings that are believed to be more effective at reducing gambling harm. These warnings are “evidence-based” and should trigger players to think about their behaviour and actions.

Some examples of the new taglines include “Think. Is this a bet you really want to place?” and “Imagine what you could be buying instead”. “Crown Melbourne has been working closely together with the Victorian government on these reforms and once in place, this will put Crown Melbourne on a path to industry best practice by reducing and preventing gambling-related harm,” said Crown CEO Mike Volkert. “We will train our team members and embed the new code.

“This work builds on our whole-of-company transformation that has been underway for more than 18 months, as we continue to build a Crown that exceeds the expectations of our stakeholders and communities. “This includes the implementation of our new and enhanced approach to responsible gambling which aims to bring about a healthier, safer gambling culture for all people that enjoy this activity.”

The measures only affect the venue in Melbourne and will not yet be implemented in the other casinos found in Perth (Western Australia) or Sydney (New South Wales).

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About Crown Casino

Crown Resorts Limited is the largest gaming and entertainment group of Australia and owns and operates some of Australia’s leading gambling and entertainment venues, Crown Melbourne, Crown Perth, and Crown Sydney. The company was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange until it was bought by Blackstone in June 2022. The headquarters of the casino group can be found in Southbank, Melbourne, Australia.

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