NSW pubs will be banned from displaying ‘VIP Room’ signs from September 1
- Gambling billboards are banned in NSW
- Pubs and clubs use ‘escape’ phrases and images
- Words like “VIP Room” will be banned from September
All pubs and clubs in New South Wales will be fined if they have not stripped their site of gambling signs by September 1.
A crackdown on gambling signage was a NSW Labor campaign promise following the use of ‘loophole’ language across the state.
Under the new law, the words “VIP Room”, “VIP Lounge”, “Golden Room”, “Golden Lounge”, “Player’s Room” and “Players Lounge” cannot be displayed outside of venues.
Images of dragons, coins and lightning bolt patterns were also banned.
‘Escape’ phrases advertising gambling outside NSW pubs and clubs will be banned from September 1 (pictured, a pub with the soon-to-be-banned phrase ‘VIP Lounge’
NSW gamblers lost $4.6billion on slots last year (pictured, player playing slots)
Sites whose names and images were banned from September 1 will be fined $11,000 per violation.
Pubs and clubs that are unable to remove signage for reasons beyond their control will have an additional three months to comply before a zero tolerance policy is applied.
Data from Liquor and Gaming revealed that players in NSW lost $4.6 billion on slots last year, $642 million more than the previous pre-Covid record in 2018.
Games and Racing Minister David Harris said in May that removing signage was an important part of gambling harm minimization measures.
“The facades of pubs and clubs across the state are littered with signs such as ‘VIP Lounge’ warning those walking or driving that they have slot machines,” he said.
“Some of these signs are extremely visible and can be seen by children and community members who are at risk of gambling harm.”
“While there are already laws in place that prohibit gaming-related signage, site operators have circumvented them by advertising ‘VIP lounges’.
“We are closing this loophole for the health and well-being of our communities.”
Under the new law, the words “VIP Room”, “VIP Lounge” (above), “Golden Room”, “Golden Lounge”, “Player’s Room” and “Players Lounge” cannot be displayed outside outside the sites.
As part of NSW Labour’s gambling reforms, it will also trial 500 ‘cashless’ slot machines.
The machines will use a cashless game card in an effort to curtail criminal money laundering networks that use gambling dens to “clean up” money.
The trial was previously scheduled to start on July 1 but was delayed.