December 4, 2023 3 min read


NSW Regulator Warns of Zero Tolerance for Illegal Gambling Signage Display

Liquor & Gaming New South Wales has issued a warning to venues that are not currently abiding by the new state regulations regarding the display of gambling signage

The Liquor & Gaming New South Wales (L&GNSW), which is responsible for managing the “regulatory framework for the liquor, gaming, wagering, casino, and registered clubs sectors in NSW,” has initiated the third and last stage of the compliance program aimed at the forbidden display of gaming signage in the state. 

Two New Venue Operators Issued Statutory Directions

The body that undertakes compliance and enforcement activities and offers policy advice to the government has recently undertaken a series of enforcement measures on two venues, the Royal Hotel at Granville and Stardust Hotel at Cabramatta, concerning the illegal display of gambling-related signage. 

L&GNSW inspectors discovered that the Royal Hotel at Granville made use of cartoon imagery advertising the hotel’s restaurant, Mr Choy’s Wok, which was similar to the one used in the electronic gaming machine called Choy’s Kingdom

Accordingly, they were issued a statutory direction according to section 75 of the Liquor Act, which asks for all signage and material using the imagery to be removed or changed. 

While the licensee complied with this direction, they also decided to apply for a review from the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority.

The same inspectors also came across a digital archway around the external entrance of the gaming room belonging to Stardust Hotel at Cabramatta.

The respective archway features animations showing a panda holding and chewing on a plant that resembled those found in the Panda Magic electronic gaming machine

Stardust Hotel was issued a statutory direction asking it to stop using the digital archway, with successful results.

Escalated Enforcement Action Starting December 1

As part of the newly instilled “zero-tolerance approach” and ban on these forms of advertising that went into effect in September, L&GNSW inspectors have already attended more than 1,200 venues spread across 53 local government areas in NSW. 

The list included 19 regional areas representative of more than 55% of the state’s venues entitled to have gaming machines.

The inspectors discovered a 99% compliance rate for the venues’ external signage tied to gaming. As explained by the minister for gaming and racing, David Harris, by now, all operators “should have a full understanding of the requirements, and all illegal signage should be removed.”

He further explained that the removal of the banned signage is only one of the critical steps toward fulfilling their commitment to the important gambling reform aimed at lowering gambling harm and tackling money laundering

Harris reiterated that operators who breach the Gaming Machines Act and fail to remove these signs will face a maximum penalty of $11,000 per offense

At the same time, venues that do not comply with any statutory direction issued under the Liquor Act will also face an offense with an established maximum penalty of $11,000

Even more, both of these offenses can be used as grounds for disciplinary action.

Minister Harris said L&GNSW “will no longer accept any reason for a delay in the removal of prohibited signage” or the setup of new signage trying to highlight the existence of electronic gaming machines.

Moreover, he warned that all of these attempts to use symbols, animations, or characters popularly connected to gambling franchises, poker machines, or gambling circumventing the ban “will be met with an escalated enforcement response.” 

The prohibition refers to both external and internal signage that can be easily noticed while standing outside a venue.

In June, the regulator reiterated the ban on credit card ATMs at brick-and-mortar gambling venues in an effort to restrict problem or at-risk gambling.

After finishing her master's in publishing and writing, Melanie began her career as an online editor for a large gaming blog and has now transitioned over towards the iGaming industry. She helps to ensure that our news pieces are written to the highest standard possible under the guidance of senior management.

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