Tasmania Is Enforcing Strict Loss Limits Rules From 2024

The state of Tasmania is in the process of introducing strict loss limits for Tasmanian gamblers in addition to becoming cashless.

The Australian gambling industry is in a state of flux. Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment falling foul of almost every rule in the book has kept Australian gambling firmly on the front pages of newspapers and websites the world over. Government officials are reacting to calls for change and reform. Tasmania is just one state taking action proactively by introducing strict loss limits from 2024.

The damning report into Crown Resorts’ affairs included more than 50 recommendations for reform. The creation of a new gaming regulator, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), was one of them. VGCCC has the power to impose fines of up to $100 million and create strict rules for live dealer casinos in the state.

VGCCC has no power over the gambling laws in Tasmania, but the Tasmanian government is following the regulator’s lead. The VGCCC gave Crown until the end of 2023 to enforce loss limits on patrons playing casino games in Melbourne. Gamblers are limited to $1,000 losses every 24 hours. Tasmania is even stricter, or at least it will be by 2024.

Loss Limits and a Cashless System Coming to Tasmania

The Tasmanian government is being proactive in its gambling rules, although many see the upcoming reforms as too restrictive. Tasmania is becoming cashless in regards to live gambling. Casino patrons upload funds to a gambling card at the casino’s cashier desk and use the card for playing roulette games, pokies, and all other forms of gambling at the casino. Several casinos are entertaining similar cards, but Tasmania will be the first state to make them mandatory.

A cashless system protects both the players, the casino, and the broader economy. They allow the casino to track a patron’s spend, in addition to all but eradicating money laundering. Nobody can load funds onto their gaming card without the appropriate identification. There is zero chance criminals will attempt money laundering in Tasmania under the new rules.

New loss limits restrict Tasmanians’ gambling activity. Anyone wishing to gamble in Tasmania must set loss limits for their daily, monthly, and annual spend. Currently, those limits are $100 per day, $500 per month, or $5,000 annually. It is possible to reduce the amounts at any time. However, increases are only possible if the patron proves they have the resources to sustain heavier losses. Tasmanian players are forced to sit on the sidelines until the start of the next period if they hit the loss limits. The new limits do cover online slots or other virtual casino games.

The Tasmanian Gambling Industry

Tasmania is the smallest state, and it does not have anywhere near as many poker machines as other states. A study by Monash University shows Tasmania has 3,399 poker machines dotted across 95 venues. The same research shows Tasmanians spent $108,632,080 on pokies in 2021-22, a 4% increase on the $104,497,000 expenditure for the previous year. Compare that to New South Wales, whose residents lost $5,435,998,559 on pokies last year, and Tasmania is small potatoes in comparison.

The state has only two casinos within its borders. Wrest Point opened in 1973, with Country Club Tasmania opening nine years later. Federal Group, an NSW-based gambling company, owns and operates both properties.

Federal Group has a monopoly on the state’s pokies and has done since their legalisation in 1993. However, the deal ends next year, opening the door for pubs and clubs to operate pokies in their properties. Obviously, Federal Group is unhappy about the rule changes as it affects its bottom line. The Tasmanian government slashed Federal Group’s gaming tax rate from 25.8% to 10.9% to compensate for the increased competition.

In addition to increased competition for pokies customers, it is estimated to cost $3,200 per machine to update them for the new gaming cards and loss limits enforcement.