The NSW Government is seeking community feedback on impacts of its 2018 gaming machine reforms that capped machine numbers in high-risk communities and introduced a leasing scheme to encourage small venues to go “pokies-free”.
The formal evaluation of the reforms by Liquor & Gaming NSW is a chance for the public and interested stakeholders to give their views and help shape future policy directions.
The reforms were the most significant changes to NSW gambling regulation in a decade and featured:
- Stronger harm minimisation measures: including a cap on the number of gaming machines allowed in higher-risk areas and new measures to target potential harms in more localised areas.
- An overhaul of the Local Impact Assessment scheme that regulates the movement of gaming machines.
- A leasing scheme for small clubs and hotels to lease, rather than sell, their Gaming Machine Entitlements (GMEs) to other clubs and hotels, allowing them to go “pokies-free” while staying economically viable.
- Improved community engagement and consultation.
- Clearer advice and guidelines for industry.
Executive Director Policy & Strategy for Better Regulation Division, John Tansey, said local community caps were an appropriate response to concerns that some areas were at greater risk of gambling-related harm.
“These areas were capped three years ago to ensure no additional machines could be moved into these areas, and we want to see how effective they have been in reducing gambling harms,” Mr Tansey said.
“The NSW Government is keen to hear from the community, so we are conducting a survey to help inform our evaluation. We will also be inviting venue operators with GMEs to complete a separate online survey.
The consultation will close on Friday, 10 September 2021.