19 May 2023
NSW Government Implements Ban on Gambling-Related Signage at Pubs and Clubs to Tackle Problem Gambling
The New South Wales (NSW) government is taking decisive action to address problem gambling by implementing a ban on gambling-related exterior signage at pubs and clubs throughout the state. Effective September 1st of this year, the ban aims to tackle the issue of problem gambling in NSW head-on. Before the September deadline, pubs and clubs will receive formal notifications starting next week instructing them to remove, alter, or conceal external signs, including fixed unilluminated awning signs and digital video displays. In cases where venues can demonstrate delays in sign removal beyond their control, an additional three-month grace period will be granted for compliance.
However, the government will adopt a zero-tolerance approach once this grace period concludes. The ban encompasses names such as VIP Room/Lounge, Golden Room/Lounge, Players’ Room/Lounge, and Prosperity Room/Lounge while covering images of dragons, coins, and lightning motifs. The government commits to working collaboratively with industry associations and venues to facilitate a smooth transition during this period. Non-compliance with the ban carries a maximum penalty of 100 penalty units, equivalent to AU$11,000 (£5,890/€6,780/US$7,319) per offense.
Minister David Harris, responsible for Gaming and Racing, highlights the unwavering dedication of the NSW government to implementing essential initiatives to reduce the adverse effects of gambling. He stresses that the facades of pubs and clubs are currently cluttered with signs like “VIP lounge,” alerting passersby, including children and vulnerable community members, to the presence of gaming machines. While existing laws prohibit gaming-related signage, venue operators have exploited a loophole by advertising “VIP Lounges.”
The government aims to close this loophole to prioritize the health and well-being of local communities. This ban complements recent legislation introduced by the government, which prohibits clubs with pokies from making political donations to NSW political parties. The NSW government remains dedicated to promoting responsible gambling practices and safeguarding the welfare of its citizens.