Greens launch plan to limit harms of Melbourne casino post-Royal Commission

Australian Greens

The next Melbourne Casino would be forced to pay its fair share in tax and reduce its gaming machines by half under a post-Royal Commission plan released today by the Victorian Greens.

In anticipation of the report due to be handed down by the Royal Commission into Crown this Friday, the Greens have outlined how the Victorian casino should operate going forward and will introduce a bill to Parliament today.

The plan would enforce strict rules for the casino, with a focus on reducing gambling harm and preventing the next casino operator – whether Crown or otherwise – from growing its political influence at the expense of the Victorian community.

The Greens’ plan includes:

  • Halving the number of gaming machines and tables to reduce gambling harm
  • Strong harm minimisation protections including dollar bet limits, spin restrictions, withdrawal limits, mandatory pre commitment, and reduced operating hours
  • Increasing tax rates to make the Casino pay its fair share, particularly:
    • Doubling the tax paid on gaming machines from the current low rate of 31.57% to 63.14%
    • Doubling the tax paid on gaming tables, from 21.25% to 42.5%
  • Implementing a high-roller tax on Crown’s VIP program
  • Banning political donations from the gambling industry
  • Closing the revolving door between politics and the gambling industry by banning politicians and senior ministerial advisors from working in the gambling industry for five years

Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, said the Royal Commission had laid bare years of corrupt behaviour by Crown, enabled by a lenient state government and ineffectual regulator.

In fact it would be extraordinary if Crown was able to keep its casino licence given the evidence heard by the Royal Commission.

Ms Ratnam added that the Royal Commission had provided the perfect opportunity to go back to the drawing board and rethink how we operate a casino in Victoria.

Crown has benefitted from special treatment for decades, including paying less on tax, having unrestricted gaming machines, and having the ability to block proposed harm minimisation measures.

The status quo is no longer sustainable. It’s time to break up with Crown and start again.

As stated by Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam MLC:

“Crown has been allowed to get away with dodgy behaviour for years, and this Royal Commission has been the writing on the wall.

“Once the report is handed down this Friday, the government will need to go back to the drawing board and rethink how we operate a casino in Victoria in a way that protects communities and is free from political influence.

“Our plan would see the next operator of the Melbourne casino pay its fair share in taxes and reduce the number of gaming machines. We also want a ban on political donations from the gambling industry and a ban on politicians and staffers from working in the gambling industry for five years.

“It’s time for this government to break up with Crown and ensure that any future operator runs a fairer and corruption-free casino for Melbourne.”

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