Date: 08.02.2024

by Mateusz Mazur

NSW Authority Tightens Late-Night Gaming Regulations

In response to growing concerns about the impact of late-night gaming on individuals and communities, the NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) has updated Guideline 16, which addresses late-night gaming applications.

This revision underscores ILGA’s commitment to prioritizing harm minimization in the assessment of applications for extended gaming hours in pubs and clubs across New South Wales.

Evidence Points to Increased Risks

Recent findings from Roy Morgan Research, coupled with existing data from NSW, highlight the heightened risks associated with late-night electronic gaming machine (EGM) usage.

The research indicates that individuals engaging in EGM activities post-midnight tend to exhibit more intense gambling behaviors, with a significant correlation between late-night gaming and problem gambling, especially beyond 2am.

ILGA’s Stance on Late-Night Gaming

ILGA Chairperson Caroline Lamb emphasized the authority’s cautious approach towards applications seeking to extend gaming hours into the early morning. “Given the strong link between late-night gaming and potential harm, ILGA is inclined to scrutinize such applications closely, particularly those proposing operations beyond 2am,” stated Ms. Lamb.

The authority aims to collaborate with venues to implement effective harm minimization strategies voluntarily. However, ILGA is prepared to impose additional conditions on licenses to mitigate gambling-related harm if necessary. “Our goal is to ensure that any late-night gaming activity is conducted within an environment that prioritizes harm reduction,” Ms. Lamb added.

Aligning with NSW Government’s Vibrancy Reforms

The update to Guideline 16 coincides with adjustments to Guidelines 2 and 10, bringing them in line with the NSW Government’s Vibrancy Reforms initiated on December 12, 2023.

These reforms are part of a broader effort to foster a more vibrant, 24-hour economy while ensuring responsible gaming practices.

Our Comment on the Article

The ILGA’s proactive measures to update Guideline 16 reflect a growing awareness of the need for stricter regulatory oversight of late-night gaming activities.

By prioritizing harm minimization and requiring venues to adopt more responsible gaming practices, ILGA is taking a significant step towards safeguarding the well-being of individuals and communities.

This balanced approach ensures that while the gaming industry continues to thrive, it does so within a framework that mitigates potential risks associated with gambling.