The Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&GNSW) has implemented a new compliance program regarding the display of gaming signage at various venues, and the third stage of this program has just begun. The regulatory body is taking a zero-tolerance approach to enforcing these rules in an effort to crack down on any attempts to circumvent the prohibition on gambling-related signage.
L&GNSW has demonstrated its strictness by banning two venues from displaying new signages that resemble electronic gaming machines, even if the machines themselves are not displayed. Since December 1, strict measures have been taken against anyone who displays the signage, whether it is internal or external and visible from outside the venue.
Two specific cases that garnered attention were the Royal Hotel at Granville, which used a cartoon picture to promote its restaurant ‘Mr Choy’s Wok’ that resembled an electronic gaming machine called ‘Choy’s Kingdom’. The signage was removed by L&GNSW, but the hotel has submitted an appeal on this decision. The Stardust Hotel at Cabramatta also displayed an image of a panda with a branch or plant that resembled the ‘Panda Magic’ electronic gaming machine, and the picture had to be removed as well.
David Harris, the Minister for Gaming and Racing, emphasized that the regulatory body will not accept any delays in the removal of the signage, regardless of the reason. He warned that any attempts to circumvent the prohibition on gambling-related signage will be met with escalated enforcement responses.
The compliance rate for the new regulations has been high, with 99% of venues visited by authority inspectors complying with the rules. Those venues that do not comply with the new regulations about the signage face the risk of paying substantial penalties, with the maximum penalty for violating the Gaming Machines Act being $11,000 per offense along with disciplinary action.
The NSW Government has been working on changing regulations since March, implementing various measures such as reducing the cash input limit, capping gaming machine entitlements, banning political donations, and establishing a new independent panel to oversee trials of cashless gaming in New South Wales. This demonstrates the government’s commitment to gambling reform and addressing issues such as money laundering.