Liquor and Gaming New South Wales is investigating a number of venues that have failed to remove external signage, or attempted to circumvent new rules that were introduced at the start of last month.

Despite a compliance blitz finding almost 99 per cent of pubs and clubs inspected of being free of external gambling-related signage, 16 were discovered to still feature such advertising. 

Liquor and Gaming NSW’s inspection program covered over 1100 establishments across 35 metropolitan and eight regional local government areas. This worked out at a little more than 50 per cent of all venues in NSW with an entitlement to hold gaming machines.

However, ongoing assessments are currently being undertaken regarding delays in removal across certain facilities. Venues that could not provide “clear evidence” of why such delays had occurred will be fined.

In addition, inspectors also found that some operators had placed signage in an attempt to circumvent the restrictions. Investigations are ongoing, however, further enforcement or administrative action will be taken.

L&G NSW has warned that escalated enforcement action, with a zero-tolerance approach, will be undertaken from December 1, 2023. Failure to comply carries penalties of up to $11,000, per offence.

“Removing this signage for pubs and clubs is just one part of our commitment to reducing gambling harm in our community and I thank licensees and industry bodies for getting on board,” commented David Harris, Minister for Gaming and Racing.

“We have been working positively and proactively with industry associations and venues across the state to educate, inform and support them through this process and ensure this high level of compliance.

“We welcome the positive impact this campaign has had on the exteriors of licensed venues which now solely feature advertisements for a diverse range of offerings such as food and beverage specials, live music and entertainment instead of signs designed to advertise the presence of gaming machines. It makes a noticeable difference to the amenity of our cities and suburbs.

“It’s great to see industry and government working together to prevent and reduce gambling harm in the community and we will continue to do so.”

Removal of all external signage is just one part of the regional government’s broader gaming reform to reduce harm.

Additional efforts include a reduction of cash input limits from $5,000 to $500 for all new electronic gaming machines from July 1, 2023, with all political donations from clubs involved in gaming being banned.

The number of EGMs in circulation will be capped, responsible gaming officers will be deployed at venues with more than 20 machines and a third-party exclusion register will be expanded across the whole state.

In addition, an independent panel of stakeholders, including industry, harm minimisation organisations, academics, law enforcement, cyber security and the union movement, has been established to oversee a cashless gaming trial and recommend an implementation roadmap for gaming reforms.