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First Major Step in Preventing Gambling Harm in Victoria

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The Allan Labor Government has embarked on its first step in implementing its nation-leading reforms to protect Victorians from gambling harm.

Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation Melissa Horne introduced the Gambling Legislation Amendment Bill 2023 to Parliament, which will enforce mandatory closure periods for all gaming machine areas in venues except the casino between 4 am and 10 am every day.

This addresses evidence that some venues are staggering opening hours to encourage patrons to move between nearby venues to continue gambling once one closes.

Providing people with a break in play is an important gambling harm prevention measure, as it gives people a chance to stop and consider the decisions they are making and whether they are prepared to potentially lose more money. The mandatory closures will come into effect by mid-2024.

The Bill will also extend the Minister’s powers to ban harmful betting on activities that take place outside of Victoria such as sports played by minors, providing more control over betting that is not in the public interest.

In response to the alarming behaviour uncovered by the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence, the Government moved swiftly to implement the Commission’s 33 recommendations.

The Bill builds on this work by making it clearer and easier for the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission to deal with casino property if it decides to withhold granting a casino licence. It also ensures the mandatory pre-commitment and carded play systems will work across the casino, including on table games.

From December 2023, any person who plays a gaming machine at the casino will be required to track their play using the pre-commitment system, YourPlay. By December 2025, this must be implemented on table games like poker and baccarat, requiring new table game technology to be developed.

The Bill follows the Government’s commitment in July 2023 to introduce sweeping reforms to provide Victorians with the strongest gambling harm protections in the country.

The package of reforms includes mandatory pre-commitment limits and carded play for all electronic gaming machines, capped load up limits of $100 and a slowing of spin rates to reduce the pace of games. The Government will consult with industry as part of an implementation working group.

Melissa Horne, Minister for Casino, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, said: “Our previous reforms have delivered stronger oversight of the gambling industry in Victoria with a regulator unafraid to hold venues to account – now we’re doing more important work to prevent and reduce gambling-related harm.

“We’ve seen predatory behaviour from some venues, allowing people to keep gambling for hours, at any hour. Closing gaming areas between 4 am and 10 am will give people an important break to reassess and walk away.”

Australia

Aristocrat Appoints Matthew Primmer as Chief Product Officer

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Aristocrat Leisure Ltd announced the appointment of Mr Matthew (Matt) Primmer to the position of Chief Product Officer, reporting directly to Aristocrat CEO & Managing Director Trevor Croker. Mr Primmer’s appointment is effective immediately. He will join Aristocrat’s Executive Steering Committee, and remain based at the company’s offices in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mr Primmer comes to the role with over 20 years’ experience in the global gaming industry, including ten years at Aristocrat in a range of senior product strategy, insights and leadership roles in Australia and the US. Mr Primmer has been Chief Product Officer at Aristocrat Gaming for four years, leading Design & Development (D&D) in Aristocrat’s largest operating business, with casino game content and hardware comprising its most strategically important portfolios. Mr Primmer previously held marketing and sales roles at Ainsworth Game Technology and Shuffle Master. Mr Primmer holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Wollongong.

“I am delighted to elevate a global gaming executive of Matt’s calibre to our leadership team. Over the past decade, Matt has made a strong contribution to building and extending Aristocrat Gaming’s global product leadership, fostering our outstanding creative and technical talent, championing D&D and placing customer needs at the centre of our product strategy,” Mr Croker said.

“Matt’s appointment brings additional, proven gaming experience to the executive team. In his new role, Matt will help us maintain an enterprise view of product strategy as our business grows to encompass a broader range of product verticals, while also ensuring the most effective allocation of D&D investment” Croker added.

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Australia

Victoria Racing Club, Tabcorp and Nine Enter Landmark Deal for Melbourne Cup Carnival

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The Victoria Racing Club (VRC), Tabcorp and Nine Entertainment (Nine) announced a groundbreaking broadcast, media and sponsorship deal for the world-famous Melbourne Cup Carnival from 2024 to 2029.

The landmark agreement will see the VRC and Tabcorp enter a game-changing partnership combining enhanced year-round sponsorship, and domestic and international media rights for the Carnival.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival will be broadcast on all SKY platforms and the TAB app, with Tabcorp having the right to on-sell the coverage to wagering providers.

Nine will be the free to air partner of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, including audio-visual rights for broadcast, streaming, mobile, digital and social platforms. Tabcorp will be the exclusive wagering integration partner for Nine’s broadcast of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

The new rights package means that Nine will be the broadcast home of Penfolds Derby Day, Lexus Melbourne Cup Day, VRC Oaks Day and TAB Champions Stakes Day. All four days of the Carnival – one of the nation’s most significant cultural events – will be broadcast live and free in high-definition on Channel 9 and streamed on 9Now.

The partnership allows the VRC to invest strategically for the long term in the key areas of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, member engagement, the year-round racing programme, Flemington Racecourse tracks and facilities and the broader community. It will also bring significant new investment to the racing industry which will support and fund innovations on and off the track, create new jobs and further enhance equine welfare initiatives.

The agreement represents a partnership encompassing broadcast, content, partnership rights and race naming rights. This partnership will create significant exposure for the brands and their partners as it brings together the biggest names in sport.

VRC Chairman Neil Wilson said that this was an important strategic announcement for the industry, Tabcorp, Nine and the VRC.

“The VRC is delighted to extend and enhance its long-term partnership with Tabcorp. As Australia’s first major event, the Melbourne Cup Carnival will sit very appropriately in the calendar of Nine’s Wide World of Sport major event coverage,” Mr Wilson said.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is Australia’s pre-eminent racing event, and the partnership continues the VRC’s unwavering commitment to showcasing the very best the sport of racing has to offer and attracting new fans to the sport.

“The iconic nature of the event was highlighted by a successful 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival, with more than 262,000 racing fans at Flemington and millions more engaging with the Lexus Melbourne Cup at home and abroad.

“The Melbourne Cup Carnival is one of Australia’s most culturally and economically important major events, and it is right here in Melbourne – considered by many as the sporting capital of the world.

“As its custodians, the VRC places significant emphasis on protecting the history and tradition of Cup Week, which is loved by so many Australians, while innovating for the future and investing in our club and the major event that is the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

“This landmark partnership is not only good for Melbourne and Victorian racing, but it also guarantees our sport has primacy across multiple platforms and channels.

“The partnership will enhance the community engagement and economic contribution that followed the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival, which saw more than $500,000 raised for different charity groups, an estimated 16,000 jobs generated and the delivery of thousands of visitors to Victoria from interstate and international locations, highlighting the broader impact of the event,” Mr Wilson said.

The Melbourne Cup Carnival delivered $422.1 million in economic benefit to Victoria in 2022, making it the largest economic contributor to the state of any major annual sporting event in the past decade, with early modelling suggesting the 2023 economic impact will be even greater than 2022.

In 2022, one in two adult Australians engaged with Lexus Melbourne Cup Day in some way and in 2023, the race itself was broadcast to 209 countries and territories with a potential global reach of 750 million people.

A key component of the partnership will see the VRC take the reins on managing the production for racing coverage through VRC Media, working closely with Tabcorp and Nine to elevate the way racing is broadcast across the globe.

VRC Chief Executive Officer Steve Rosich said the partnership underlined the club’s strategic commitment to being a world leader in racing, media, sponsorship and event experience.

“The partnership with Tabcorp and the arrangements with Nine have been developed by our close strategic alignment and a desire to grow and innovate in our industry,” Mr Rosich said.

“We are thrilled that in 2024 the Melbourne Cup Carnival will join the Nine big event stable alongside the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Australian Open and State of Origin.

“Nine’s capability to showcase coverage of Melbourne Cup Carnival racing and events across the depth of their leading broadcast and streaming assets make for a compelling partnership outcome.”

Mr Rosich also thanked previous Melbourne Cup Carnival broadcast partner Network 10.

“The VRC acknowledges and thanks Network 10 for bringing together exceptional coverage of the Melbourne Cup Carnival since 2019. In partnership with Network 10 the VRC has expanded the range and reach of Cup Week across domestic and international audiences, and we were delighted to finish the partnership on a high, with increased viewership on Network 10 and 10 Play.”

Tabcorp CEO Adam Rytenskild said: “Tabcorp’s partnership with the VRC and Nine is the most innovative in Australian sport and we can’t wait to bring our entire digital, broadcast and retail ecosystem together to grow and promote the Melbourne Cup Carnival together.

“This partnership builds on Tabcorp winning the 20-year Victorian exclusive wagering licence and will be a key pillar of our growth strategy. Together with our Brand and Customer transformation, this partnership gives us a terrific platform to grow in Victoria, throughout Australia and around the world as we beam the Cup to more than 60 different countries through Sky Racing.”

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Australia

PointsBet Appoints Daniel Lucas as Group Chief Technology Officer

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PointsBet Holdings Limited announced the appointment of Daniel Lucas as Group Chief Technology Officer (CTO), effective 1 September 2024. Daniel will replace current Group CTO, US-based Jerry Bowskill, who will step down following completion of the sale of the US Business to Fanatics Betting and Gaming.

Daniel is serving out his current role as Global Director of Trading Technology at Flutter Entertainment Plc, leading the global trading technology operation and service across the Flutter Group (including Fanduel, Sportsbet, Paddypower, Betfair, Pokerstars and Skybet). Currently based in the UK, Daniel will relocate to Melbourne to take up his new role.

Prior to his global role at Flutter, Daniel held several senior positions at Sportsbet based in Melbourne, including Head of Data Solutions and Head of Trading Technology, which followed roles in the investment banking sector in London.

Daniel holds a Bachelor of Science (First Class Honours) and a Master of Business Systems from Monash University.

Sam Swanell, Chief Executive Officer of the PointsBet Group, said: “We are very pleased that a Senior Executive of Dan’s quality and experience is joining PointsBet. Dan’s understanding of complex platform and trading operations, in particular algorithmic trading, risk and advanced analytics together with his strong people leadership skills, are valuable assets to PointsBet’s Australian and Canadian operations, as we continue to invest in our market leading live betting and multi capability through Odds Factory.”

“I am super excited about the opportunity to join a technology and product led company like PointsBet. They continue to invest in their platforms and there are exciting growth opportunities ahead,” Daniel Lucas said.

“Jerry Bowskill has made an outstanding contribution to PointsBet over his tenure leading our global technology organisation. He has been an integral part of the group executive leadership team, and his experience and expertise has proven invaluable as we have planned for and executed the transition of our United States business to Fanatics. I would like to thank Jerry for all he has done for PointsBet and wish him all the best in his future endeavours,” Sam Swanell said.

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