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NSW government orders removal of gambling signage

| By Robert Fletcher
The New South Wales (NSW) government is to introduce a ban on gambling-related exterior signage at pubs and clubs across the Australian state.

The ban will come into effect on 1 September this year as part of an effort to tackle problem gambling in NSW.

Pubs and clubs will be formally notified from next week that external signs, including fixed unilluminated awning signs to digital video displays, must be removed, altered or concealed before the September deadline.

Venues that can demonstrate delays in removing signage that are outside of their control will be given an additional three months to comply with the new rules. However, once this period has ended, the government will adopt a zero-tolerance approach. 

Names such as VIP Room/Lounge, Golden Room/Lounge, Players’ Room/Lounge and Prosperity Room/Lounge will be among names banned. In addition, images of dragons, coins or lightning motifs will be covered by the ban.

The government said it will work with industry associations and venues during the transition period to support the removal. The maximum penalty for those who fail to remove signs is 100 penalty units, or AU$11,000 (£5,890/€6,780/US$7,319) per offence.

Gambling harm-minimisation 

“The NSW government is committed to introducing important gambling harm-minimisation measures,” the minister for gaming and racing, David Harris, said. “The façades 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.

“Some of these signs are extremely prominent and 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.”

The ban comes after the government also recently introduced legislation to ban clubs with pokies from donating to NSW political parties.

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