The beleaguered Crown Casino in Australia’s city of Perth will become a testing ground for gambling limits on electronic gaming machines as Western Australia seeks to implement recommendations from the state’s royal commission.

Crown Casino Perth came under investigation in WA earlier this year following allegations of breaches to its license.

While the Crown was permitted to stay open, an independent commission found that its current operation was unsuitable, and recommended a two-year “cleaning up” period to ensure its license wouldn’t be revoked.

Crown Perth has since undertaken measures to improve its services for gamblers, while also tackling shortcomings found in the commission’s inquiry such as:

  • Failure to minimise gambling related harm
  • Permission of junkets with criminal links to operate at the casino
  • Not being open, accountable, or competent in communications with the state regulator

Among the 59 recommendations set out by the commission was a move to reduce the maximum bet on electronic gaming machines to AU$10 ($6.70).

And that’s exactly what the government’s new initiative will do.

Gambling Limits Implemented

Crown Perth gambling limits

According to reports Down Under, Crown will have a AU$10 betting limit on all EGMs within its casino premises from July 1, 2023. The aim is to reduce the harmful impact of over-spending by problem gamblers, who can currently wager much more than the cap on a single spin.

Campaigners hope the measure will help reduce problem gambling, while opponents say it is a restriction on the freedom of players to wager what they want.

EGMs are generally slot machines and often generate the bulk of a casino’s income. But they can also cause harm to players who cannot control their spending.

The limit, endorsed by Racing and Gaming Minister Tony Buti, aims to reduce this risk.

“We are pleased to advise that significant work is already underway to implement a number of the royal commission’s recommendations, with much to be achieved in the next 12 to 18 months,” stated Lanie Choping, Gaming and Wagering Commission Chair.

“The Gaming and Wagering Commission is considering all policy aspects and recommendations related to EGMs – including the impact of any required technology updates – in order to fast-track these reforms. 

“The Commission understands the importance of its role as an independent regulator and is committed to fully exploring these matters so that sound and appropriately informed public policy positions can be developed.”

Similar Limits In UK

These sorts of gambling limits are seen across a number of countries that have legalized gambling, but can cause controversy. Most US states don’t set bet limits on slot machines, but some – such as Montana – implement a $2 max cap on video gaming machines.

Western Australia’s move is more closely aligned with that in the UK, which recently saw all gambling machines in betting shops and highstreet casinos reduce their wager limit from £100 to just £2.

The move proved controversial, with the betting industry arguing that job losses would be inevitable due to the reduction in earnings from the machines.

But the social benefits appear to have outweighed the negatives – so much so that come campaigners want UK online casinos to have a bet restriction of no greater than £5 ($6.10).

As for Australia, it’s likely that other states will look at the success or failure of Crown Perth’s bet limit before making a decision on their own limitations.

Western Australia’s government hopes to implement the AU$10 limit on all EGMs by December 1, 2025, to allow casinos to upgrade their technology.

“The leading recommendation made by the royal commission to address the risk of gambling-related harm for casino patrons is for a comprehensive scheme that will empower them to set their own spend and time limits for EGM use,” said Buti.

“Enacting the AU$10 limit is the first step as we continue to work towards minimising gambling harm, especially for casino patrons using EGMs. 

“The WA Government remains committed to working with the Gaming and Wagering Commission to deliver successful outcomes on the royal commission’s final report recommendations.”

Joe Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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