NSW venues harm reduction efforts praised by state government

The government of New South Wales (NSW) has voiced positive feedback to the regional betting and gaming industry amid a range of state-wide reforms coming into effect.

With a roadmap for reform to the state gambling regulatory framework under development, authorities have been engaging with 530 venues across 20 metropolitan and 12 regional local government areas throughout NSW.

The results of these interactions have been positive, according to the government. So far, 215 out of the 530 venues visited have already begun implementing changes ahead of a 1 September 2023 deadline.

“It’s great to see industry and government working together to prevent and reduce gambling harm in the community,” said David Harris, Minister for Gaming & Racing.

“We announced these changes back in May as a staged approach to ensure pubs and clubs were given the appropriate amount of time to conceal, remove and switch off any gambling-promoting signage.

“While venues have until September 1 to comply, our expectation is that they remove signs as quickly as possible and not leave it until the last minute. Removing this signage is just one important part of our commitment to gambling reform to reduce harm and tackle money laundering head-on in NSW, and we are delivering.”

Specific changes announced in the May reform package include, as referred to by Harris, requirements regarding signs. This will see venues obligated to remove, alter or conceal all external gambling signets, including awning signs and digital video displays.

Wording referring to terms such as VIP Room/VIP Lounge, Golden Room/Lounge and Players’ Room/Lounge must also be removed, alongside images of dragons, coins or lightning motifs.

Cash input limits have also been reduced from AU$5,000 to AU$500 from 1 July onwards and political donations from clubs involved in gambling have been banned. 

The number of EGMs in circulation will be capped, responsible gaming officers will be deployed at venues with more than 20 machines and a third-party exclusion register will be expanded across the whole state.

Finally an independent panel of stakeholders – including industry, harm minimisation organisations, academics, law enforcement, cyber security and trade unions –  will be established to oversee a cashless gaming trial and recommend an implementation roadmap for gaming reforms.

The panel will be led by former NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing Commissioner, Michael Foggo as Chairman, and consist of 16 members in total.

Harris concluded: “This government is committed to evidence-based reform. We have achieved more in four months than the coalition managed in 12 years.”

SBC News NSW venues harm reduction efforts praised by state government

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