Authorities engage 530 venues across NSW in pursuit of gambling regulatory framework reforms
With state-wide reforms coming into action, the government of New South Wales (NSW) has conveyed its contentment with the regional betting and gaming industry. In an ongoing endeavor to reform the state’s gambling regulatory framework, authorities have been actively involved in communication with 530 venues spanning 20 metropolitan and 12 regional local government areas in NSW. Encouragingly, the government reports that the interactions have yielded positive outcomes, with 215 out of the 530 visited venues already taking proactive measures to implement changes well before the September 1, 2023 deadline.
David Harris, the Minister for Gaming & Racing, commended the collaboration between industry and government in addressing gambling-related harm in the community. He emphasised that the changes were announced in May, and designed as a phased approach to allow pubs and clubs sufficient time to remove and deactivate any gambling-related signage.
While the compliance deadline is September 1, Minister Harris urged venues to take immediate action and not delay until the last moment. Removing such signage is a vital aspect of the government’s commitment to gambling reform, aiming to mitigate harm and combat money laundering in NSW effectively.
The reform package introduced in May includes specific changes related to signage. Venues will be required to eliminate, modify, or conceal all external gambling signs, including awning signs and digital video displays. Additionally, terms like VIP Room/VIP Lounge, Golden Room/Lounge, and Players’ Room/Lounge must be removed, along with images of dragons, coins, or lightning motifs.
Other significant reforms include reducing the cash input limits from AU$5,000 to AU$500 since July 1, as well as banning political donations from gambling-involved clubs. The number of Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMs) in circulation will be capped, venues with over 20 machines will deploy responsible gaming officers, and the third-party exclusion register will be expanded across the entire state.
To ensure a comprehensive and unbiased approach, an independent panel of stakeholders will be formed, comprising representatives from the industry, harm minimisation organizations, academics, law enforcement, cyber security, and trade unions. The panel, led by Michael Foggo, former NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing Commissioner, will consist of 16 members and oversee a cashless gaming trial, proposing an implementation roadmap for gaming reforms.
Minister Harris concluded by emphasising the government’s commitment to evidence-based reform, highlighting that they have achieved more progress in four months than the previous government achieved in 12 years.
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