The state of Victoria saw a bill extending local poker machine licences extended until 2042. The piece of legislation has already passed the state parliament, despite the fact that some local politicians had made some efforts to prevent such a law from being passed, or at least, delay it.
The new bill which extended the licences of poker machines in the state of Victoria passed the upper house last night. As mentioned above, previously, a group of Members of the Parliament have tried to delay the bill amid the ongoing investigation of Crown casino. In October, the gambling operator has been accused in tampering with some poker machines and deliberately concealing some illegal practices.
The extension of poker machines licences has been backed by the Alliance for Gambling Reform, which reminded that they were not expected to expire until 2022. In addition, according to one of the organizations that have been lobbying for introduction of certain limits on poker machines, the Alliance for Gambling Reform, the extension of these licences would lock gambling revenue of A$70 billion for operators of pokies. According to the AGR, the poker machines licences extension would end up generating poker machine losses of A$70 billion over the following two decades and a half.
Apart from the fact that the bill is to extend the duration of poker machines’ licence to 2042, it is to also limit the number of pokies across the state of Victoria. In other words, the piece of legislation is to block the addition of more poker machines in the state. In addition, under the new bill, local players will face some withdrawal limits per day and last, but not least, gambling advertising in public spaces is to be restrained.
Anti-Poker Machines Campaigners Called for Suspension
As mentioned above, the current licences of local poker machines are valid until August 2022.
At the end of October, while the newly-passed piece of legislation was still being considered by the upper house of the Victorian Parliament, the Victorian Greens party has called for suspension of poker machines licence extension talks due to the ongoing investigation of the Crown Resorts’ casino in Melbourne.
Earlier in October, the Member of Parliament Andrew Wilkie revealed that a number of former employees of Crown Resorts have accused the company in tampering with poker machines at its Melboune casino venue. According to whistleblowers’ allegations, the company had also violated certain anti-money laundering regulations.
For some time now, the campaigners against Australian poker machines have also been urging the state’s Government to reduce the maximum bets allowed from A$5 to A$1. Opponents of pokies also proposed a ban to be imposed on cashless gambling, and made a suggestion for reduced trading hours of venues which host poker machines.
Anthony Huber has been a freelance author for two years. He is really interested in the gambling industry and he even has some experience as a freelance beta tester for a big software provider.