April 3, 2023 3 min read


The Crown Melbourne To Enforce Mandatory Breaks for Patrons

Such gambling harm prevention measures are part of the ongoing remediation efforts at the beleaguered property

The Victorian government has joined Western Australia in its efforts to minimize gambling harm at the troubled Crown Casino. The Royal Commission recently recommended betting and time limits for Crown Perth in Western Australia, and authorities in Victoria have already mandated similar measures for the operator’s Melbourne branch. Patrons must take mandatory breaks every few hours and face daily and weekly limits.

Daily and Weekly Limits Will Encourage Safer Gambling

The ongoing controversy surrounding The Crown has kickstarted some long-overdue regulatory reforms. The 2021 Royal Commission investigation revealed systemic regulatory violations, tax evasion, severe money laundering, and ties to criminal organizations. The operator’s Australian properties have since felt the ire of the local regulators, paying hundreds of millions in fines and facing ongoing restrictions until they fall back into compliance.

Crown Melbourne now operates under the watchful eye of the Victorian government, which oversees the ongoing reforms. The newest updates aim to combat the rising problem of gambling rates by introducing mandatory breaks and time limits. Patrons will take a non-optional 15-minute break for every three continuous hours of play and a 24-hour break if they have gambled for over 12 hours daily.

Victoria authorities hope that such forced breaks, combined with a 36-hour weekly limit, will help dissuade patrons from overspending. The region’s Casino and Gaming minister Melissa Horne hoped the measures would lay the foundations for a safer gaming environment. A September 2022 legislation also introduced a cash cap of $1000 per 24 hours.

The Royal Commission (evidence) showed incredibly predatory behavior on people… struggling on the casino floor and in the pokie machine rooms in particular.

Melissa Horne, Victoria Casino, and Gaming minister

Anti-Gambling Advocates Find Such Measures Lacking

Despite the authorities’ good intentions, some experts remain skeptical of the practical benefits of time limits. Alliance for Gambling Reform CEO Carol Bennett noted that individuals struggling with gambling addiction would move on to bet at another venue. The proliferation of pokeys across various establishments means a machine is always nearby.

The measures put in place in Crown should also be translated into pubs and clubs because we’re otherwise just shifting the problem.

Carol Bennett, Alliance for Gambling Reform CEO

Bennett tentatively agreed that such measures were a step in the right direction and urged widespread reforms encompassing all venues offering to gamble. However, each Australian region’s high degree of autonomy makes coordination difficult, and powerful lobbying groups ceaselessly fight to maintain the status quo. Even so, attempts to bring order to Australia’s premiere gambling destination should receive recognition.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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