For the time being, the so-called high-roller rooms in the Crown casino are the only enclosed venues in the state of Victoria where in-door smoking is allowed. However, cancer experts have called for state politicians to make a move and ban the long-standing exemption of the casino from second-hand smoke laws.
After the findings of the Royal Commissioner Finkelstein’s investigation into Crown Resorts were officially made public, earlier this month, local lawmakers introduced a piece of legislation aimed at tackling money laundering activities at the venue, as well as gambling-related harm. The planned legislation overhaul includes an in-door smoking ban in the high-roller rooms at Crown’s casino, which basically means that the gambling venue would be aligned to the casinos in other jurisdictions across the country, including the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania.
The Victorian Government officially suspended smoking in all other enclosed licensed bars, clubs, and gaming rooms in the state in July 2007. Ever since then, local health experts have been urging lawmakers to make Crown’s high-roller rooms subject to the same ban.
More than a decade and a half later, Todd Harper, the CEO of Cancer Council Victoria, noted that local politicians had another chance to take action and do the right thing when the piece of legislation is taken into consideration by the lower house on Tuesday. If the piece of legislation is given the green light, it will have to get the approval of the Legislative Council as well. On August 16th, Mr Harper asked all members of parliament to back the measure to protect Crown Resorts’ employees from the negative effects of second-hand smoke on their health.
In-Door Smoking Ban in Crown Casino in Victoria Could Reduce Gambling Expenditure
As revealed by Quit Victoria in a statement, research has proven that second-hand smoke increases the risk of cancer and cardiac issues among non-smokers.
Apart from the regulation of smoking in high-roller rooms, the proposed piece of legislation also involves measures regarding casino-issued cards and customer identification. Under the provisions of the bill, gamblers will have to use casino-issued cards and show their ID in order to be allowed to gamble or receive winnings worth over AU$1,000. Apart from that, casino patrons will be given the opportunity to track how much time and money they are spending via a mandatory pre-commitment regarding all electronic gaming machines on the casino premises.
The full reforms included in the piece of legislation are supposed to be taken into action no later than December 2025.
The head of gambling and social determinants unit of the school of public health and preventative medicine at Monash University, Associate Professor Charles Livingstone, shared that, at the time when smoking was suspended from other in-door areas of the Crown casino in Victoria, there was a significant decline of about 15% in gambling expenditure in the state.
According to Professor Livingstone, while the proposed overhaul is expected to make a difference, it will not put an end to the health and social-related harms linked to gambling. He believes that the real problem is that politicians had not taken action to extend the reforms to local pubs and clubs, especially considering the fact there was a long list of harms associated with gambling, such as physical and mental health problems, financial problems and poverty, relationship breakdowns and child neglect, increased chance of becoming victim to another addiction, as well as greater risk of suicide.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.