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Vic poker machine reforms applauded “significant and meaningful” - Changes now put spotlight on NSW to do more to reduce gambling harm

16 July 2023

The Alliance for Gambling Reform has welcomed the changes to poker machine regulation in Victoria, declaring they will make a significant difference in reducing gambling harm in the State.

The Chief Advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, Rev. Tim Costello, said Victorians have waited a very long time for meaningful and significant reforms such as this.

“These reforms appear to be very significant, especially the introduction of mandatory carded play with load up limits per time no more than $100,” Rev. Costello said.
“We still need to see all of the details, but this will go a long way towards minimising gambling harm in our community as well as reducing the huge amounts of dirty money being laundered through poker machines.”

Australians lose more than $25 billion a year in gambling losses with poker machine losses being the biggest source of losses. Victorians are on track to lose more than $3b this last financial year to poker machines.

Rev. Costello said the reforms now put the focus on the Minns Government in NSW which refused to commit to the introduction of a cashless gambling card at the last election.

“The unnecessary and shambolic trial of the cashless gambling card in NSW should be abandoned and Premier Minns should follow the lead of Victoria in committing to the Statewide implementation of a mandatory, pre-commitment cashless card,” Rev. Costello said.

The Victorian reforms announced today include mandatory venue closures for every pub and club’s gambling area from 4am to 10am, the introduction of carded play with set loss limits and no more than $100 loaded at a time and reducing to 3 seconds the spin rates on new machines among other reforms to education, training and counselling services.

Lived experience advocate, Carolyn Crawford, said she was extremely pleased with the reforms.

“I am extremely pleased with the announcement today of the changes to opening hours, mandatory pre-commitment, and reduced spin rates. If these changes had been in place when I was gambling, I would not have ended up in prison as a result of my gambling,” she said.

Tim Costello is available for interview

Media contact: Martin Thomas – 0477 340 704

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