The Victorian gaming regulator has wasted no time pushing for changes at Crown Resorts’ Melbourne casino, announcing new rules governing electronic gaming machines (EGMs) at the casino on Wednesday.
The rules, according to the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) are aimed at reducing gambling harm, and follows from a number of recommendations from the Victorian Royal Commission into Crown Resorts last year.
Under the new rules, EGM players at the casino will no longer be able to play more than one machine at a time. EGM players will also not be allowed to use any item to hold down buttons which can facilitate continuous play.
In 2017, a Crown pokies machine tampering scandal came to light after former Crown employees alleged they were instructed to make alterations to their pokies machines, including blanking of buttons, and shaving down of buttons that allowed for continuous, automatic play.
A year later, the company was fined A$300,000 (US$227,460) by the gaming regulator.
VGCCC in a Wednesday statement said the EGM rule changes will better align the casino with responsible gambling objectives in the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 (GR Act) and the Casino Control Act 1991 (CC Act).
VGCCC Acting Director Licensing Jason Cremona said the new rules would help reduce the harm from EGMs at the casino.
“Playing more than one machine at a time is not consistent with the responsible gambling objectives contained in the legislation, and nor is playing continuously by using items to hold down an electronic gaming machine button.
“The casino is required to ensure that patrons comply with the rules, and the VGCCC will be monitoring compliance and will take regulatory action should Crown not ensure that the rules are complied with.”
The VGCCC has also made several other technical and administrative rule changes relating to playing on EGMs at the casino.
Earlier this week, the Victorian government proposed new legislation that will further enhance the compliance and enforcement powers of its gaming regulator as part of its oversight of Crown Resorts.
The new laws will give inspectors of the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCC) greater access to surveillance equipment and casino records, requiring casino employees to assist inspectors to access and operator surveillance equipment to monitor activity on the casino floor.
The legislation will also make gambling harm minimization part of VGCCC’s core business, and will allow the regulator to take earlier disciplinary action whenever the gambling code is breached. Previously, it could only take action after repeated breaches of the code.