Get ready for pokie reform

CLUBS and pubs have welcomed new reforms requiring those with more than 20 gaming machines to have a Responsible Gambling Officer on duty while poker machines are in operation.

The idea behind the NSW Government initiative which comes into effect on July 1, is that the officers will help identify patrons at risk of harm and refer them to gambling support services as well as facilitate requests for self-exclusion.
Hotels and clubs will also be required to keep a Gambling Incident Register and a Gaming Plan of Management as part of the reforms.
A research paper from Western Sydney University, which has called gambling-related harm a “silent epidemic”, found Canterbury Bankstown accounted for the highest daily electronic gaming machine losses at $1.8m. Padstow RSL General Manager Mitch Nakic said being a smaller club, they were already at an advantage to monitor and intervene early in relation to problem gambling.
“For us, the reforms are not about extra staffing but an opportunity to further educate our frontline staff in identifying potential triggers and how to professionally act on behaviours that can cause gambling harm,” he said.
“Our managers have already completed training as part of the ClubsNSW Code of Conduct which is reflective of the club industry proactive approach to harm minimisation.”
Panania Diggers Chief Executive Officer Ian Lowndes said they were also way ahead of the game.
“We have 10 staff trained as Responsible Gaming Officers already on the ground and these new reforms are just an extension of the harm minimisation policies already put into place by ClubsNSW,” he said.
The NSW Government has implemented other reforms including reducing the cash input limit from $5,000 to $500 for all new machines; establishing the Independent Panel on Gaming Reform; and banning gaming-related signage.
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