The government of New South Wales has extended the consultation period on proposed regulations in the gaming machine sector.

The consultation period, which was originally due to end on October 30, will instead run to December 11. The time will also be used by the government and regulatory authorities to work with pubs and clubs who will be effective, in order to ensure proposed that the proposed measures, particularly those concerning enhanced self-exclusion and player monitoring are effective.

The Minister for Customer Service in NSW, Victor Dominello, set out the reasons for the extension, explaining that since the first draft of the Gaming Machines Amendment (Gambling Harm Minimisation) Bill 2020 was made available in September, there had been widespread interest in the potential reforms.

Dominello added that although there was wide agreement about the main objectives of the Bill, the extended consultation would enable more discussions with affected venues on how they can ensure that the measures set out in the legislation are effective.

The Bill proposes that venues will be legally obliged to actively identify and to assist any players who are showing signs of problem gambling, an obligation that will include the presence of a trained member of staff on hand to monitor all a venue’s gambling devices and activity. 

The other proposals include an enhanced, state-wide self-exclusion system, which will enable players to block their access to all gambling venues using an online portal. This scheme would also enable involuntary self-exclusion, through which family members could apply to ban an individual from all venues that hosted gaming machines. Those venues will also be required to provide statements with detailed activity logs on request, and to remove all cash dispensers. Any venue that failed to comply with the rules would face high penalties.

Speaking about the extension of the consultation, Dominello said that it would give the government more time to ensure that the rules are effective when introduced:

“The extension of public consultation provides a further opportunity for us to work with pubs and clubs and other stakeholders to find solutions, potentially using technology to meet this objective. I am hopeful that we can find an industry-led solution that takes into account the different size, scale and risk profile of the 3,000 pubs and clubs across our state.”

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