The Victorian state government said Monday it has issued a direction requiring Crown Melbourne to update its Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct, including strict limits to be imposed on how long individuals can gamble each day and each week.
Under the new code, which must be implemented within the next six months, anyone who has been gambling for three continuous hours will be required to take a 15-minute break. Anyone who has gambled for 12 hours in any 24-hour period will be required to take a 24-hour break while no one will be permitted to gamble for more than 36 hours in a single week.
Any breaches of the code may lead to disciplinary action from the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission, with a maximum penalty for any breach of AU$100 million (US$67 million).
Implementation of the new code poses even more questions over the future of the Aussie Millions – or any major tournament series – at Crown Melbourne given the difficult of fitting these significant events into such small daily and weekly windows.
However, Crown has itself not given up on bring tournament poker back to Melbourne, telling PokerMedia Australia in January that it was “continuing to work with a range of stakeholders on new ways to bring the global poker community together and look forward to sharing more on the Aussie Millions soon.”
Crown also described the Aussie Millions as “an iconic part of poker history [that] brings some of the world’s most renowned players to Crown Melbourne.”
The Aussie Millions, a staple of the Australian poker scene since 1998, was last held in early 2020 but the COVID-19 pandemic and crippling regulatory issues have prevented its return for the past three years.
Following the damning findings of a high-profile Royal Commission into its operations – which ultimately saw Crown deemed unsuitable to retain its casino license – Crown Melbourne now finds itself under the control of an independent monitor while the company’s new-look senior management team works to bring it back to suitability.
In announcing these latest requirements for Crown Melbourne, Victoria’s Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Melissa Horne, said, “This direction reflects my expectations that Crown must aim to be a global leader in the reduction of gambling harm – or lose their license.
“Crown is on track to implement mandatory pre-commitment in all electronic gaming machines by the end of this year. When combined with the strengthened code of conduct, the harm reduction protections will be world leading for a casino of this size.”