Clubs and pubs will be forced to have a Responsible Gambling Officer on duty when poker machines are in operation under a new State Government policy.
From 1 July 2024, venues with more than 20 gaming machine entitlements will be required to have the officer on duty in an effort to reduce gambling harm.
Responsible Gambling Officers will help identify patrons at risk of harm or displaying concerning gambling behaviour, refer them to gambling support information and services and facilitate requests for self-exclusion.
All hotels and clubs with gaming machines will also be required to keep a Gambling Incident Register and a Gaming Plan of Management as part of a suite of reforms being implemented to reduce risk of gambling harm and support people who may need help.
The new requirements are being implemented through amendments to the Gaming Machines Regulation 2019.
Clubs with more than 100 gaming machine entitlements will be required to have additional Responsible Gambling Officers, to ensure enough sufficiently trained staff are available to support patrons and to ensure they have a reasonable workload across larger gaming floors.
Responsible Gambling Officers and other people with specified roles will also need to complete Advanced Responsible Conduct of Gambling (ARCG) training under the proposed changes.
The proposed new requirements would be implemented in stages to allow NSW venues, staff, management, and training providers time to adjust.
“The NSW Government is committed to gambling reform, reducing gambling harm and stopping money laundering and criminal activity associated with poker machines,” said Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris.
“Harmful gambling not only impacts individuals, but also their loved ones and the broader community.
“We know there is no single solution to address harm from gambling, which is why we are implementing a range of gambling reforms.
“In NSW, gaming machines represent the highest risk of 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.
“The introduction of Responsible Gambling Officers is the next important step in supporting people who may be experiencing gambling harm.
“They will be across pubs and clubs where gambling is happening, and be alert to patrons at risk of harm or displaying concerning gambling behaviour and link them in to the support they need, such as the GambleAware hotline.
“It is great to have industry on board with our gambling reform agenda as well as harm minimisation organisations. Together we are making a real difference in tackling gambling related harm.
“The NSW Labor Government is committed to evidence-based gambling reform and has delivered more in 10 months than the previous government managed in 12 years.”
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Breaking News Reporter. He has more than 20 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations. In 2023, he was named Editor of the Year at the Mumbrella Publish Awards.