Gaming machines

The NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority is to consider initiating a crackdown on the availability of electronic gaming machines across the state after dissecting the results of a new study.

Conducted by Roy Morgan Research and funded by the NSW government’s responsible gambling fund, the investigation is said to have uncovered a “significant link” between late-night poker machine gamblers and problematic gambling behaviour across licensed venues.  

Titled the ‘impact of electronic gaming machine late night play on EGM player behaviours,’ it was found that “problem gambling increased significantly” among those playing later in the day.

The study discovered that a little over a quarter of those accessing EGM’s usually gambled in the day/early evening (8am-7pm). Most were found to gamble between 7pm and 10pm (43.7 per cent), followed by 18.5 per cent between 10pm and midnight, 6.8 per cent between midnight and 2am and just under 5 per cent between 2am and 8am

Late-night gambling was more common in the Star casino, with 20.6  per cent of casino EGM gamblers doing so after midnight, compared with 10.5  per cent in pubs and 7.1  per cent in clubs. 

Furthermore, it was also discovered that “problem gambling increased significantly from later in the day, into the evening and early morning hours when EGM gamblers usually gambled”.

The figure stood at 3.1 per cent for those utilising EGMs between 8am and 10pm, with this rising to 7.3 per cent between 10pm and 12am, 12.1 per cent for 12am to 2am and 22.6 per cent between 2am-8am.

Of EGM gamblers who usually gamble after midnight, in the region of 23 per cent and 26 per cent were classified as recreational gamblers, compared with between 47 per cent and 54 per cent for those gambling before 10pm.

Caroline Lamb, ILGA Chair, noted that the Authority had been concerned for some time about the impact of late night and early morning gaming on individuals, families and communities. 

“As part of our statutory obligation to minimise gaming related harm, ILGA will make use of the study’s conclusions to inform future decisions,” she said.

“ILGA has implemented a number of measures to minimise gambling harm and address concerns about applications that increase the availability of gaming machines after midnight. 

“We have developed guideline 16 to help gaming venues reduce gambling harm after midnight and foster the responsible conduct of gambling. 

“This includes a preference that all gaming related applications are required to be accompanied by a gaming plan of management that contains a raft of measures designed to support licensees to minimise gambling relating harm in venues. 

“ILGA also imposes licence conditions on gaming-related applications to mitigate risk of gambling-related harm.”