Crown Melbourne Casino in Australia May See Reduced Visitor Numbers Due to New Regulations

Following a AUD120-million (US$80.32 million) penalty for violating gambling regulations in Victoria, Crown Resorts will have to introduce new guidelines for players at its Crown Melbourne casino. The new rules, part of the operator’s recently mandated Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct, could lead to decreased attendance if Crown adheres to them.

The exterior of Crown Melbourne’s property at night. The Crown Resorts property must introduce new responsible gaming measures that could result in reduced traffic. (Image: Crown Resorts)

One new rule, according to a government announcement, will restrict customers to 36 hours of gambling per week. Furthermore, someone who gambles for 12 hours in a 24-hour period at Crown must take a 24-hour break. This doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t gamble somewhere else in the vicinity.

Patrons will also need to take 15-minute breaks every three hours, which Crown will be responsible for enforcing. Violation of any of the regulations could result in a fine of up to AUD100 million (US$66.94 million).

Crown To Oversee Gamblers

Crown’s Melbourne casino, like those in its other locations, recently faced a fine from Victoria’s gambling regulator. The casino was found to be in breach of responsible gambling measures, facilitating money-laundering activity on a large scale and other violations.

As a result, Casino, Gambling and Liquor Regulation Minister Melissa Horne mandated the new measures. The findings of the 2021 royal commission included the recommendations, which she has now approved.

The regulations, as outlined by the government, also include extra instructions for officials regarding the proper course of action to take when players display signs of gambling harm. This involves continuously monitoring all activity, recommending breaks to gamblers and discussing responsible gambling services with them.

Crown has six months to put the changes into effect and get its staff up to speed on responsible gambling training. These reforms will be part of a larger initiative Crown said it began after almost losing its casino license in Victoria last year.

There still needs to be further input on how Victoria will enforce the rules and ensure compliance. Anti-money laundering regulations have been in place for decades, but Crown and Star Entertainment were able to repeatedly violate them across Australia for more than 10 years.

Online Gaming Becomes Latest Target

After dealing with the land-based gaming space in Australia, regulators are likely to go after the online segment now. Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reports that parliamentarians will discuss regulations and a crackdown on gambling advertising this week.

It’s one thing to advertise a land-based casino on social media, but promoting an online casino is completely different. In the former case, the gambler still has to leave their comfort zone and travel. In the latter, it’s as simple as seeing an ad, clicking a link and beginning to gamble.

Flutter reportedly spent AUD300,000 (US$200,820) last month on just two TikTok ads for its Sportsbet platform in Australia. It’s a lucrative deal, as each ad works out to about AUD0.20 (US$0.13) per view.

Gambling ads aren’t usually allowed on TikTok, but Sportsbet has special permission to conduct a trial. It’s not yet clear, as no data has been presented, how successful the social media platform has been for Flutter.

Sportsbet’s trial is just part of an industry worth over AUD310 million (US$207.51 million). That’s how much gaming companies spent advertising in Australia last year, according to the Ad Intel Panel, a product offered by audience statistics expert Nielsen.

The largest portion of that money went to conventional advertising. However, in a close second and growing was digital advertising through social media platforms.

There are watersheds in place to ban advertisements on TV and radio during specific periods, but the same isn’t true for digital advertising. This week’s legislative debate will begin to explore this, as well as the introduction of fresh restrictions across the entire digital gambling domain.

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