Loophole allows poker machine betting 24 hours a day
Victoria’s mandatory closing hours circumvented, harm minimisation voided
18 Oct 2022
Mandatory closing hours for poker machine venues – aimed at minimising gambling harm –
are being circumvented with big operators exploiting a loophole to stagger closing times
across multiple venues to ensure gambling continues 24 hours a day, a new policy paper has
The policy paper by the Alliance for Gambling Reform to mark Gambling Harm Awareness Week
reveals that Victoria introduced laws designed to curb 24 hour poker machine gambling 18
years ago. These laws require venues to shut for four hours a day.
Yet the laws never specified what times venues had to close, which is allowing big operators to
stagger their closing hours across their venues to allow people to ‘venue hop’ and gamble 24
hours a day.
“Given the enormous harm poker machine losses wreak on our State there is no need for venues to be open into the early hours of the morning. We need to do much more to protect people who are vulnerable, the industry certainly cannot be trusted to act sensibly or compassionately,” the chief advocacy of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Tim Costello, said.
“Research has shown that even people who gamble on poker machines want their hours restricted.”
The policy paper calls for poker machine venue opening hours to be restricted from midnight to
10am across Victoria and across the nation. In the interim it argues there is an urgent need for
Victoria to impose uniform hours for mandatory closing times in order to close the current
The Alliance is a national advocacy organisation which works to prevent and minimize 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.
Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704