In light of a growing correlation between late-night gaming and gaming-related harm, ILGA has revised its guidelines on applications, to reflect its position.

The NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) decides applications for NSW pubs and clubs to operate EGMs (Electronic Gaming Machines) under the Gaming Machines Act 2001.

The Act requires that ILGA’s priority in assessing application is the minimisation of harm, to individuals and communities. Guideline 16 sets out the way in which ILGA approaches applications, notably those that increase access to gaming after midnight.

In previous editions of the Guideline, ILGA made clear its increasing concern about the potentially harmful impact of late-night gaming.

Research by Roy Morgan has reinforced existing evidence about serious risks associated with late-night EGM play, in particular that patrons at these times tend to be more intense gamblers, and are significantly more likely to be “experiencing problem gambling”.

This effect is seen to increase as it gets later, particularly after 2am.

Last September the NSW Court of Appeal backed ILGA’s powers and its responsibility to consider the potential for gaming-related harm by adjudicating the regulator can impose conditions under the Liquor Act 2007.

The revision of Guideline 16 reinforces these responsibilities, resulting from ILGA’s general concern about applications that would increase access to post-midnight gaming – and its acknowledgement of an “increasing body of evidence”.

“Our concern is greater if the proposal would involve gaming after 2am,” furthered ILGA Chairperson Caroline Lamb.

“It is our hope that in the face of the evidence, venues offering gaming facilities will recognise the risks and themselves introduce effective measures to protect their members and customers from harm.”

ILGA has made it clear it is unlikely to approve applications involving additional late-night gaming, without effective conditions to decrease the risk of gaming-related harm, such as limiting operating hours.

And poignantly, the Authority can place additional conditions on licences to this end on any operator it deems has failed to adequately mitigate potential risk.

“That power exists at any time, and whether or not an application has been made,” states Lamb.

ILGA also amended Guidelines 2 and 10 to bring them in line with the NSW Government’s Vibrancy Reforms.

For more information on the updated guidelines, see Liquor & Gaming’s website HERE.

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