Problem gamblers would be involuntarily excluded from clubs under a new draft Gaming Code of Practice proposed by ClubsNSW. The new rules would enable families to request an exclusion if they believed a loved one was experiencing gambling harm, with an independent panel determining whether a ban was appropriate and the length of the ban.

Every club would also need to have a designated Responsible Gambling Officer, while other club employees would receive advanced training to help them identify key problem gambling indicators and behaviours and conduct welfare checks on anyone believed to be at risk of harm.

Patrons showing serious signs of a gambling problem such as seeking credit for gambling, borrowing money from other patrons, or admitting to stealing money to gamble would be offered counselling and automatically barred from clubs across NSW.

“If someone appears to have a gambling problem, clubs will intervene and offer assistance. If the person refuses to accept that help, clubs can have them banned from their venues. We are prepared to protect people from themselves where it’s appropriate to do so,” ClubsNSW CEO Josh Landis said. “We will also introduce a system for family interventions — something we’ve been advocating for since 2012, because families are best placed to know if a loved one is in trouble and needs help.

“Not-for-profit clubs have always been the most responsible venues when it comes to operating gaming machines. This new Gaming Code of Practice will ensure all clubs operate to standards which are higher than the legal requirements, giving members, patrons and the broader community greater peace of mind that they can feel safe in their club.”

The Gaming Code of Practice also proposes lifetime bans for suspected money launderers from all clubs. He said the industry is committed to assisting law enforcement identify those in clubs who may have engaged in spending the proceeds of criminal activity.

“While we await the findings of the NSW Crime Commission’s Inquiry, the community can feel confident that clubs are unwilling to be used as pawns by crooks to hide their ill-gotten gains,” he said.

The Gaming Code of Practice is currently in draft form for consultation with clubs, government and other relevant stakeholders to identify any practical issues with implementation.

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