Both NSW and Victorian regulators have announced new regulations for EGMs and gaming venues, strengthening governance and harm-minimisation.
The Victorian Commission for Gambling & Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) has introduced a new audit process intended to improve the accuracy and completeness of gaming machine data reported by operators.
The new process will allow the VCGLR to:
- accurately and efficiently compare source data recorded on machines to that reported by the monitoring licensee
- automate the process of validation, and reduce the validation processes for onsite audits
- execute a risk-based approach to future onsite gaming venue inspections
The process requires gaming venues to provide the VCGLR with soft meter readings from all operational machines for three consecutive days, in a form provided.
The Accounting and Auditing Venue Requirements already require these meter readings be recorded and reconciled daily with polled data, so the new system will not significantly add to venues’ reporting burden.
If the VCGLR finds variances in figures it will schedule a detailed onsite venue visit to assess adherence to the process and identify any reporting issues.
The regulator envisions around ten venues will be sampled each week, meaning most Victorian venues will be audited each year.
Yesterday, NSW Minister for Racing Paul Toole revealed “the most significant changes to gambling regulation in NSW for a decade” with a package of reforms around EGM numbers, licensing and penalties for operators.
Significantly, the number of gaming machines in precincts dubbed ‘higher-risk’ [Band 3] will be capped at their current level, and the existing Local Impact Assessment (LIA) scheme will be tightened to reflect reported community concerns.
“Local community caps are an appropriate response to concerns that some areas have too many gaming machines,” said Toole in the announcement. “These areas will be capped at their current number, ensuring no additional machines can move into these areas.
“A number of councils and community groups suggested caps and the NSW Government agrees this is the right thing to do in higher-risk areas.”
Legislation introduced into Parliament on 6 March includes:
- LIA assessments to use ABS statistical zones rather than council areas, with more emphasis on vulnerable areas, and broader, extended community consultation
- LIA community contributions to channel through the new Responsible Gambling Fund, with a mandate that money be spent locally
- A leasing scheme for gaming machines owned by small hotels and clubs, providing an alternative revenue stream and option to divestment of their gaming assets
In a move to tighten control of operators, also proposed are streamlined regulations for clubs and tougher penalties for culpable directors, modernised and consistent regulation of casinos, and a ten-fold increase in fines for wagering operators offering illegal inducements.
The AHA NSW is still assessing implications of the proposed new regulations, but in light of almost 50 country pubs shutting the doors in NSW in the past two years Liquor & Policing director John Green sees promise in leasing out machines for struggling venues.
“After the assets were sold, many were forced to close their doors,” explained Green. “Under the new leasing arrangements, these hotels will no longer be forced to sell, but will be able to instead rent out their gaming entitlements, generating income for the pub.”
The NSW Government has also pledged to provide more comprehensive information on gaming machine activity and profit statistics. This is now available, free of charge.
See HERE for the Liquor & Gaming interactive map on LIA Banding.