Deadline looms for external gambling-related signage ban
Pubs and clubs across the state have less than 1 week left to remove external gambling-related signage, with members of the public encouraged to report venues breaking the rules following the 1 September deadline.
The NSW Government announced in May that all venues must remove, alter or conceal all external gambling-related signs, including fixed unilluminated awning signs and digital video displays.
The ban will be implemented through a staged approach to ensure pubs and clubs are given the appropriate time to conceal, remove and switch off any illegal signs.
From 1 September, Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&GNSW) is primed to start rigorous compliance inspections and is asking the community to alert it to any remaining signage from that date.
Enforcement action will be taken in relation to non-compliant signage except where venues can provide evidence that reasonable steps have been taken to remove gambling-related signage and the delay is outside of the control of the venue.
From December 1 there will no exceptions and a zero-tolerance approach to any external gambling-related signage.
Members of the public can report instances of gambling related signage via L&GNSW’s website. The maximum penalty attributable for those who fail to remove their signs and breach the Act is $11,000 per offence.
A gambling related sign means any sign (whether consisting of words, symbols, pictures or any other thing) that draws attention to, or can reasonably be taken to draw attention to, the availability of approved gaming machines in a hotel or on the premises of a club.
Terms such as VIP Room/VIP Lounge, Golden Room/Lounge and Players’ Room/Lounge are among those banned, as well as images of dragons, coins or lightning motifs.
L&GNSW will be reviewing instances of external gaming related signage on a case-by-case basis, with consideration to any relevant aggravating or mitigating factors. Any operators identified as wilfully circumventing legislation will be met with an appropriate and proportionate enforcement response.
Since May, L&GNSW has visited and engaged with venues across metropolitan and regional LGAs on the process and scope of removal and briefed local councils, peak industry bodies and police to provide necessary education and support about the changes and written to them on numerous occasions. A reminder communique has been sent to all venues, on 25 August confirming compliance inspections and action will start on 1 September.
For more information on gambling related signage removal, read the L&GNSW’s position paper.
Minister for Gaming & Racing David Harris said:
“NSW Government is taking the next step in our commitment to gaming reform, reducing gambling harm and tackling money laundering.
“Pubs and clubs have one week until this ban will take place and we will begin enforcement from day one.
“Let me be clear, if you have gambling related-external signage after September 1 and cannot demonstrate that reasonable steps have been taken to remove it, you will be fined.
“I’m also calling on the community to help us enforce this ban. If you see a sign which may breach the guidelines after September 1, please report to Liquor and Gaming NSW who will investigate further.”