May 13, 2024 3 min read


Victoria Considers Limits on Working Hours for Pokies

While the changes are expected to help reduce the money lost to gambling and prevent gambling harm, the losses to gambling are expected to continue growing

Currently, gambling is identified as a serious public health issue in Australia. Regretfully, Australians have the highest losses per capita out of any other country across the globe and the billions lost to gambling annually are a stark reminder.

Amid concerns about excessive gambling and millions lost every month, Australia anticipates changes to its gambling regulations. One state that is currently in the process of implementing changes is Victoria.

Last summer, lawmakers in the state approved a robust set of changes but despite the legislation, the regulations are not yet enforced. In the meantime, for 2022-2023, Victorians lost a whopping AU$7.5 billion ($4.96 billion) to gambling activities.

As noted, a number of changes seek to prevent gambling harm and excessive gambling. Such efforts include the implementation of cards for pokies, deposit limits, reduced working hours and extra protection for vulnerable individuals. However, the changes are yet to be implemented.

Now, a newly released report suggests that despite the planned changes, the losses to gambling may continue to grow, at least for a couple of years. As announced by The Age, one major change involving the operation of pokies includes mandatory closures for six hours per day, between 4 AM and 10 AM. Those changes need to be implemented by October 3.

Tax Revenue to Continue Growing Despite Restrictions

Despite the mandatory closing hours for pokies across Victoria, a recently released state budget points to an expected increase in the tax revenue from gambling activities. While for 2023-2024, this revenue is estimated at AU$1.37 billion ($906.3 million), it is expected to increase to AU$1.41 billion ($932.8 million) between 2024-2025.

With that in mind, starting from 2025-2026, the budget forecasts decrease in the losses to gambling by AU$100 million ($66.2 million) annually. By 2027-2028, the extra restrictions are expected to result in a 15% drop in the money lost to gambling, with tax revenue forecasted to halt around AU$1.2 billion ($793.8 million).

A spokeswoman for the Victorian government predicted that the mandatory closures for pokies at clubs and hotels are going to make a difference for people who may gamble during that time and may be at higher risk. “Victorians will soon have the strongest gambling harm protections in Australia, with work and consultation progressing to bring in reduced spin rates, mandatory carded play and cash load limits – protecting vulnerable people,” explained the spokeswoman.

But not everyone is that optimistic. Charles Livingstone, an associate professor at Monash University and renowned gambling expert, said that the budget projections confirm that the mandatory closures between 4 AM and 10 AM won’t have a significant impact. Additionally, he criticized the government for the delay in the implementation of the measures, saying that it has been close to a year since the changes were announced but are not yet enforced.

In the context of the evolving gambling sector, Australia isn’t the only country planning major changes to its gambling regulations. The United Kingdom is also on the way to implementing robust regulations as a part of the overhaul of its gambling sector. Elsewhere in Europe, more markets are considering changes to the laws that govern gambling activities.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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