Credit: Welcomia

The NSW government has announced venues across the state with more than 20 gaming machines will be required to have a designated responsible gambling officer on duty.

The officers will “identify patrons at risk of harm” or are displaying “concerning” gambling behaviour, refer them to gambling support information and services, and facilitate requests for self-exclusion, the NSW government said.  

Meanwhile, clubs with more than 100 gaming machines will be required to have additional officers.

Under the proposed changes, responsible gambling officers and other senior roles within clubs that operate gaming machines will need to complete Advanced Responsible Conduct of Gambling (ARCG) training.

All clubs with gaming machines will also need to keep a gambling incident register, which records instances of potential or actual gambling harm identified in the venue, and a Gaming Plan of Management as part of this latest suite of reforms being introduced by the state government in a bid to tackle gambling harm.

“One in three people who gamble regularly are considered to be moderate or high-risk gamblers according to the Problem Gambling Severity Index,” Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris said.

“The introduction of responsible gambling officers is the next important step in supporting people who may be experiencing gambling harm.”

The new requirements will be rolled out in stages under reforms to Gaming Machines Regulation 2019 to allow venues, staff, management, and training providers time to adjust, starting from July 1.

A position paper has been published by the state government outlining the new harm minimisation measures and the timeframes for implementation to help industry prepare for the changes.

According to the state government, industry stakeholders and harm minimisation organisations were consulted extensively on the reforms.

A ClubsNSW spokesperson told Club Management it has welcomed the move by the government.

“As the peak industry body, ClubsNSW is committed to harm minimisation and will continue to work with the Government to strengthen protections for members and patrons,” the spokesperson said.

When ClubsNSW launched its Gaming Code of Practice six months ago, it included responsible gambling officers in the suite of harm minimisation measures.

“In fact, more than 340 clubs across NSW already have an RGO on duty,” according to the ClubsNSW spokesperson.

Self-exclusion system gets an upgrade

ClubsNSW has upgraded its existing multi-venue self-exclusion (MVSE) system to allow patrons to exclude themselves from gaming venues across the state without having to leave home.

The new tool, known as the self-facilitated MVSE, has been designed to allow patrons to fill out an online form and select up to 35 venues they wish to exclude themselves from. The process can be completed on a desktop or mobile device.

“The addition of Self-Facilitated MVSE eliminates the need to set foot inside a venue to request a self-exclusion,” ClubsNSW CEO Rebecca Riant said.

“Having to speak to staff at your local club about your gambling can be confronting, especially for those living in a small town, and it can be a deterrent to self-excluding.”

“It’s a quick, simple and effective harm minimisation measure that we are really proud to have launched,” continued Riant.

NSW clubs peak body has operated the MVSE register since 2012.

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