Life just got a little harder for pub owners in New South Wales (NSW) who rely on gambling machines for extra revenue. That’s because the notorious hot bed of anti-gambling legislation is introducing a ban on gambling-related signage for these businesses. It’s the latest salvo from NSW anti-gambling activists, who are extremely effective at getting their way.
In Australia, a huge number of pubs and clubs rely on an Aussie version of the slot machine known as “pokies” for extra income. These machines are frequently kept in separate areas of the pub that are labelled “VIP Room” or “VIP Lounge”. Those VIP rooms have long rankled anti-gambling activists who say they’re really just a loophole that allows pubs to advertise as casinos.
Closing up that loophole was also something of a priority for NSW Gaming Minister David Harris. Harris commented on the situation to Yahoo News saying, “The NSW government is committed to introducing important gambling harm-minimisation measures,” the minister for gaming and racing, David Harris, said. “The façades of pubs and clubs across the state are littered with signs such as ‘VIP lounge’ to alert those walking or driving by that they have gaming machines. Some of these signs are extremely prominent and can be seen by children and members of the community who are at risk of gambling harm.”
“While there are already laws in place that prohibit gaming related signage, venue operators have circumvented these by advertising ‘VIP Lounges’. We are putting an end to this loophole for the health and wellbeing of our communities,” he added.
Harris doesn’t have to worry much about getting support for his loophole busting from the NSW locals. This is a very conservative part of Australia where a survey recently found 70 percent of the population was concerned about problem gambling.
The sign ban goes into effect on September 1.