Changes to the NSW Gaming Machines Act

The NSW Minister for Gaming and Racing has recently released a 5-year report on the Gaming Machines Act 2001. The government has responded positively to recommendations made by a range of stakeholders including BetSafe. The report recommends some important changes to gaming machine laws in NSW and is available in full at

There has been a lot of publicity regarding the lowering of the State cap on gaming machines from 104,000 to 99,000 machines. However, there are many more changes recommended that are less well known.

Research has shown that young males aged 18-24 years are the highest risk group for developing problem gambling. The government has announced that it will run a media campaign in 2008 to heighten community awareness of the dangers faced by this group.

Self exclusion is an important aid for recovering problem gamblers. Since its inception in 1998 BetSafe has offered self exclusion from multiple clubs on the one form. The proposed changes to the law will require other clubs and hotels to now offer multiple self exclusion and raise the standards of self exclusion schemes throughout the industry.

Many BetSafe member clubs already ensure that ATM machines located on their premises do not allow credit card cash withdrawals. This will also become mandatory for the industry as a whole.

Until now, gaming machine prize-winners have been at the mercy of payday lenders who have illegally cashed their cheques on the spot, preventing them the opportunity of cooling-off. The new law will require cheques to clearly state that they are gaming machine prize cheques, so they will have to be deposited with reputable financial institutions, enabling the winners the chance of cooling off and keeping their prize.

The government has indicated that it will improve the choice of club patrons who will be able to choose whether or not to receive information and promotional material relating to gaming machines in their club.

Changes to the law regarding transfer of gaming machine entitlements between club premises will enable clubs to transfer machines without heavy penalties or expense in many cases. Clubs will be able to transfer machines to related clubs in the same local government area without forfeiting any machines. Transfers to related clubs in a different local government area will incur a forfeiture rate of 1 in 6. Other transfers will incur a forfeiture rate of 1 in 3. The forfeited machines will not be provided to other gaming venues.

BetSafe welcomes the majority of proposals and believe they reflect the government's role in providing balance between the objects of responsible gambling, harm minimisation and the balanced development and integrity of the industry.

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