A month-long compliance blitz has found nearly 99% of pubs and clubs inspected in NSW are now free of external gambling-related signage, as the Minns Government begins its statewide reform on gaming room advertising.
During the compliance programme, Liquor and Gaming NSW (L&GNSW) inspected over 1100 venues across 35 metropolitan and 8 regional Local Government Areas (LGAs). This represents just over 50% of all venues in NSW with an entitlement to hold gaming machines.
These inspections revealed 16 venues with prohibited external signage, which L&GNSW is investigating. This represents an overall compliance rate of almost 99%.
This signage has been found to be triggering for those with gambling-related issues and were banned from 1 September 2023.
L&GNSW has directly communicated with industry on the changes, first announced in May, including issuing a compliance position paper and several communications on its website and to venues in the months and weeks leading up to the ban which came into place on 1 September.
Inspectors are currently assessing the instances of prohibited signage identified during the blitz, to determine the cause of delay in removing the signage. Those venues which are not able to produce clear evidence that the delays were caused by factors outside of their control will be fined.
L&GNSW Inspectors also identified some operators who have put in place signage in what appears to be an attempt to circumvent the restrictions. L&GNSW is investigating this signage and will determine whether further action, including enforcement or administrative action needs to be taken.
L&GNSW has clearly signalled those venues with existing non-compliant signage, or new signage that attempts to circumvent the restrictions in the legislation, will face escalated enforcement action, with a zero-tolerance approach from 1 December 2023. Failure to comply with these requirements carries penalties of up to $11,000, per offence.
Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris said: “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.
“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.”