All external VIP gaming signage, including fixed unilluminated awning signs to digital video displays, will need to be removed, altered, or concealed at NSW clubs before 1 September 2023. The banning of external gambling-related signs is part of the Minns Government’s key election commitment on gaming reform in its bid to reduce problem gambling.
“The facades of pubs and clubs across the state are littered with signs such as ‘VIP lounge’ to alert those walking or driving by that they have gaming machines,” Gaming Minister David Harris said.
“Some of these signs are extremely prominent, can be seen by children and members of the community who are at risk of gambling harm.
“While there are already laws in place that prohibit gaming-related signage, venue operators have circumvented these by advertising ‘VIP Lounges’. We are putting an end to this loophole for the health and wellbeing of our communities.”
Pubs and clubs will be formally notified this week that all external gambling-related signs, including fixed unilluminated awning signs to digital video displays, will need to be removed, altered, or concealed by the end of August.
Names such as VIP Room/VIP Lounge, Golden Room/Lounge, Players’ Room/Lounge Prosperity Room/Lounge will be among names banned as well as images of dragons, coins or lightning motifs.
Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&GNSW) has developed a position paper that outlines its enforcement approach and transition period. As part of this, venue operators have three months to remove all gaming-related signage. Read the L&GNSW position paper here.
Where venues can demonstrate delays in removing their signage that are outside of their control, they will be given a further three months to comply. Following this period, a zero-tolerance approach will be adopted.
The expectations for removal of signs will be applied in a staged manner, to give venues the time to remove, switch off, conceal or otherwise change both static and electronic signage.
The government says it will work with industry associations and venues across NSW during the transition period. The maximum penalty attributable for those who fail to remove their signs and breach the Act is 100 penalty units, or $11,000, per offence.
The NSW Government’s action on VIP signage comes after the introduction of legislation in the first sitting week of the new parliament to ban clubs with pokies from donating to NSW political parties. Premier Chris Minns will also trial cashless gaming in a year-long experiment on 500 machines in both metro and regional areas, funded by the $100 million penalty imposed on Star Casino for failing to stop criminal activity on its premises.
It will be overseen by an independent body that will form a report with recommendations as to whether cashless gaming should be rolled out statewide or not.