New South Wales Mulls New Rules on Venues Offering Gaming Machines

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The New South Wales government has come up with a draft bill that would re-regulate hotel and clubs offering gaming machines and focus on consumer protection.

NSW Boosts Consumer Protection for Gambling

The New South Wales government in Australia has kickstarted a consultation series as part of move designed to empower clubs and hotels in the country to curb gambling harm. The goal is to work out a model that allows such venues to identify customers who are experiencing gambling-related harm and have problems with the way they play.

Known as the Gaming Machines Amendment Bill 2020, the legal framework is a bid to updated the existing 2001 Gaming Machines Act and reflect better on customer protection measures across the country.

Should the law pass into effect, clubs and hotels would have to monitor player activity, identify and assist gaming machine customers who may be exhibiting symptoms of problem gambling, urging them to take action, or even deny them access to the venue’s gaming facilities.

To prepare members of the staff, all properties would have to send people for training to the Liquor & Gaming NSW’s Responsible Conduct of Gambling seminar. A trained employee would have to be on the gaming floor when such machines are being used, which is most of the day for most of these venues.

Clubs and hotels will have to also keep a strict list of so-called gambling-related incidents or a register and then submit it to the regulator. As per the amendment, self-exclusion rules will be enhanced so as to allow players to block access to gambling portals that may prove too tempting.

NSW is known for its pro-active attitude on a legislative level. The state even saw a local legal firm threatened to sue Google and Facebook for allegedly over a cryptocurrency ban back in 2018.

The province has repeatedly asked gamblers not to use offshore betting and gambling firms to gamble as well.

Stepping up Self-Exclusion Programs

Self-exclusion programs would now be rolled out online, allowing NSW residents to avoid temptation and block access with a simple click from their home. Players will have the opportunity to self-exclude for varying periods of time.

The measure is designed to be a little more intuitive, scraping the present six-month minimum exclusion threshold and replacing it with much shorter or cooling-down self-exclusion periods.

The amendment would also allow family and friends of a person experiencing gambling harm to submit a request to a club or hotel and ask from those venues to exclude the person who is experiencing gambling-related harm or is inflicting such on relatives and friends.

Petitioned venues would also have to assist such individuals by referring them to counseling. All decisions whether such individuals can be excluded from the premises should be taken no longer than 21 days of submitting a request.

To help venues navigate the number of self-excluded people, there will be a new register that will apply to all state residents and allow gambling venues to quickly tap into centralized information.

Venues that are not compliant may face new penalties that will come under the amendment. Penalties will apply to advertisement malpractices, failure to comply with customer protection guidelines or installing cash dispensers, allowing gamblers to get more credit.

The fees will range between $11,000 and $27,500 should the Gaming Machine Amendment pass into a law. New South Wales has reported several high-profile incidents, including the Crown Resorts’ recent saga.

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