A pub in the Sydney CBD has been fined, having been found to have breached the Gaming Machines Regulation 2019 through its placement of an ATM.
Liquor & Gaming NSW (L&G) broached the matter of VBar providing an ATM, in a room that was adjacent to its gaming room but which has a sign on the door stating “ATM”, facing the gaming room.
It was determined in the Local Court that this constituted a breach of the regulation, despite the machine being located in a separate room.
“ATMs must be located in a part of the venue completely separate to gaming rooms or any other part of a venue where gaming machines are located, even if the internal design or fit-out of the room acts to screen the ATM,” says L&GNSW Executive Director Regulatory Operations, Jane Lin.
It is posed that locating ATMs further from gaming machines can “encourage” players to have a break in play.
According to the Gaming Machines Regulation 2019, a licensee must not permit “a facility for the withdrawal or transfer of money from a bank or authorised deposit-taking institution … to be located in a part of the hotel or the club premises in which approved gaming machines are located”.
The licensee of VBar was ordered to pay L&G’s costs of $5,500, and the regulator reports it is hopeful that the prosecution will serve as a warning.
This is part of an escalation in enforcement throughout 2023 by L&G, resulting in 16 penalty notices being issued and 13 prosecutions commenced for ATM location breaches alone.
Since early December the inspectors have conducted 437 inspections at high-risk hotels and clubs, spanning more than 30 LGAs.
As well as breaches in ATM placement, inspections have also been targeting:
- visibility of gaming-related signage
- availability of credit through ATMs in the venue
- floorplans requiring patrons to pass through a gaming room to access other areas or services
- self-exclusion signage in gaming rooms
- minors in gaming rooms or using gaming machines or terminals
- compliance with Gaming Plans of Management
L&G says it has a “zero-tolerance approach” for operators who do not comply with fundamental gaming harm minimisation measures. Venues not complying face potential large fines, disciplinary action or statutory directions requiring changes be made.