The regulatory authority of Liquor & Gaming NSW recently revealed that the operator of a popular inner Sydney venue was found guilty of a gambling-related violation. According to reports, the venue in question had placed an Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) in a room adjacent to its gaming area, contrary to the Gaming Machines Regulation 2019. Vbar, as the venue is known, had an ATM in close proximity to its gaming room, which goes against the specific requirement for ATMs to be located in completely separate rooms.
This violation aligns with the state’s objective of minimizing gambling harm, as it has been established that the proximity of ATMs to gaming areas increases the risk of excessive withdrawals and further exacerbates harm for problem gamblers. Liquor & Gaming NSW continues to closely monitor the placement of ATMs and considers various factors such as the availability of credit from ATMs within gambling venues, the visibility of internal gaming-related signage outside the venue, and the layout of hotels that may compel visitors to pass through gaming rooms when moving to other areas.
Additionally, inspectors are vigilant in ensuring that gaming rooms display self-exclusion messaging, adhere to Gaming Plans of Management, and strictly prohibit the entry of minors.
As a consequence of the violation, Vbar’s licensee was ordered to pay the prosecutor’s costs amounting to AUD 5,500 by the Local Court. Liquor & Gaming NSW’s executive director of regulatory operations, Jane Lin, emphasized that the placement of the ATM at Vbar was a clear breach of regulations and reiterated the requirement for ATMs to be located in a completely separate part of the venue.
Lin highlighted the potential detrimental effects of easy access to withdrawals, emphasizing that ATMs should be situated further away from gaming areas in order to encourage players to take breaks and monitor their spending. She made it clear that the regulator will not tolerate violations of measures aimed at minimizing gambling harm and warned that operators attempting to circumvent legislation will face strong enforcement responses.
The Magistrate supported the regulator’s claim and ruled that Vbar had indeed violated NSW’s regulations. This serves as a reminder to all gambling venues to adhere to the strict regulations set forth by Liquor & Gaming NSW.