Liquor & Gaming NSW Intensifies Crackdown on Illegal Gaming Signage
Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&GNSW) has launched the final stage of its compliance program, focusing on the eradication of prohibited gaming signage in venues across New South Wales.
With a zero-tolerance policy now in effect, the regulatory body is escalating its enforcement actions against any venues displaying illegal signage.
Enforcement Actions and Specific Cases
L&GNSW has already taken decisive steps, including ordering two venues to remove signage that breached the regulations. The Royal Hotel in Granville and the Stardust Hotel in Cabramatta are notable examples.
The Royal Hotel was directed to change or remove signage for its restaurant ‘Mr Choy’s Wok,’ which closely resembled imagery from the ‘Choy’s Kingdom’ electronic gaming machine.
Similarly, the Stardust Hotel was instructed to discontinue the use of a digital archway with animations linked to the ‘Panda Magic’ gaming machine.
Minister’s Firm Stance on Gambling Reform
David Harris, the Minister for Gaming and Racing, emphasized that any attempts to circumvent the ban on gambling-related signage would be met with strict enforcement.
He reiterated that the prohibition includes any animations, symbols, or characters commonly associated with gambling.
Since the implementation of the ban in September, inspectors have visited over 1,200 venues, finding a 99% compliance rate for external gaming-related signage.
State-Wide Gambling Reforms
The NSW Government has initiated several gambling reforms since March. These include reducing the cash input limit for new poker machines from $5,000 to $500, enforcing a statewide reduction in gaming machine entitlements, banning political donations from gaming-involved clubs, and establishing an independent panel for a cashless gaming trial in NSW.
Venues that fail to remove illegal signage face a maximum penalty of $11,000 per offence under the Gaming Machines Act. Additionally, non-compliance with statutory directions under the Liquor Act attracts the same penalty. Both offences are grounds for disciplinary action.
Our Comment on the Article
L&GNSW’s rigorous approach in the final phase of its compliance program marks a significant step in gambling reform and regulation in NSW. The focus on eliminating illegal gaming signage is a clear indication of the government’s commitment to reducing gambling-related harm and tackling issues like money laundering.
The high compliance rate observed so far suggests a positive response from the industry, though the stringent penalties indicate that the authorities are not willing to compromise on these reforms. This initiative is part of a broader strategy to create a more responsible gaming environment in NSW, reflecting a growing awareness of the social impacts of gambling.