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New Reforms Restrict Pokies in Victoria

Charlotte Wilson
by Charlotte Wilson
New Reforms Restrict Pokies in Victoria

It’s no secret that Australians have a deep love for slot machines, or as they call them, pokies. It’s estimated that as much as 20% of all the fruit machines in the world are located in Australia, with the average Aussie spending over $1,000 a year playing these casino games.

However, their passion for pokies might come to an end soon. At least, that could happen to players from Australia’s second-most-populated state. According to recent news, the state of Victoria is planning to crack down on pokies in order to deal with problem gambling and prevent money laundering. This is leading to many pokie aficionados turning to online real money casinos for their pokie passions.  

VI Premier Daniel Andrews Announced Pokies Reform

Last week, Prime Minister of the State of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, announced a bundle of reforms regarding gaming machines such as pokies. According to the state’s Labor Party leader, the decision is meant to help the battle against the malignant influence that gambling has on people in the state, as well as for boosting the anti-money laundering process.

The way of achieving this, according to the PM, is to implement the following rules:

  • A$100 Load-up limit – A gambler from Victoria is currently able to put up to $1,000 into a gambling machine in any casino establishment in the state. However, the new pokies policy is meant to lower that amount. The Government wants it capped at $100, which would be one of the most extreme limits in the entire world. For example, the Government of New South Wales has recently reduced the load-up limit by tenfold, but gamblers from NSW can still put up to $500 into the machine.  
  • No gambling from 4:00 to 10:00 a.m.  – As per the new regulations, all casinos with slots/gaming machines need to be closed from 4:00 to 10:00 a.m., with one notable exemption. Crown Melbourne in the city’s business center is exempt from this rule.
  • Mandatory carded play – Crown Melbourne is one of the casinos that already have this rule in place. How it works is that the patrons are required to set time/money limits before starting to play pokies. This is done using the state’s YourPlay system. With the new regulations, other casinos in Victoria will have to follow Crown’s example regarding carded play.
  • Reduced spin rate – The VI Government wants to slow down the pace of the casino games, thus making them less exciting for the players. Further, slowing down the pokies to a rate of three seconds per spin would reduce the risk of losing too much money.

In addition to those measures, the Government of Victoria has also pledged to reduce the number of pokies in the state, as well as work harder on stopping politicians from receiving donations from gambling companies.

Victorian Greens Don’t Think the Measures Are Strong Enough

New Reforms Restrict Pokies in VictoriaJudging by the reactions on social media platforms like Twitter, some Australians believe these measures are unnecessary, some think they’re spot-on, while there are also some who think they’re not harsh enough.

Tim Read, who’s the current leader of the Victorian Greens is one of those who believe the pokies reform isn’t good. According to him and his party colleagues, the measures aren’t strict enough. The Greens are of the opinion that the end goal of the pokies reforms package shouldn’t be to reduce problem gambling but to completely eliminate it.

Read is of the belief that the Government of Victoria should come up with legislation that would bring an end to casino gambling within the state borders. To achieve that, Read and the Greens propose measures like reducing the bet limit to just A$1, setting jackpot limits to A$500, and so on.

Australian Gamblers Already Switching to Online Pokies

Gambling machines have been a part of Australian culture for decades, but things are changing. Although they still remain the most popular type of gaming activity in Australia, they’re slowly making their way to online pokies.

There are many reasons for that, starting with the most obvious one, which is that online pokies can be played anytime, anywhere. Players can spin the virtual reels on their computers but also on smartphones, meaning that pokies can be played on the road.

Further, the selection of pokies at online casinos is superior to what land-based casinos have to offer. Let’s take Crown Melbourne as an example – the biggest casino in the state of Victoria – which has roughly 2,500 gaming machines on its premises.

These machines allow you to choose from a handful of games, while at most online real money casinos, there are at least a few hundred of them at your disposal.

The final reason why Aussies are switching to online pokies is that they still haven’t been affected by governmental measures. As per The Interactive Gambling Act 2001, Australian gambling companies cannot launch online casinos, but this doesn’t mean foreign casinos can’t keep their doors open to Aussies.

They can and they’ve been doing it for a long time. Foreign casinos are allowing Australian gamblers to gamble as much as they wish, with as much money as they want, thus getting a chance to hit jackpots measured in millions of dollars. 

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