NSW Announces a Cap on New Poker Machines in Some Areas

  • Edited
  • 3 minutes

One of the most common problems is that problem gamblers tend to lose money on bets. Because of this, last year, an agreement between federal, state, and territory governments decided to outlaw online bookmakers that make offers such as bonus bets and money-back offers when gamblers tend to lose.

With the New South Wales’ gambling landscape, there is an expected overhaul with a new cap on the new pokies in several areas. In addition to this, online bookies that are behaving badly will now have to deal with fines.

Sydney’s west has been considered as a problematic spot for gambling. Berejiklian Government has announced that there will be no new poker machine licenses that will be granted to suburbs including Fairfield, Granville, and Auburn. In addition to this, around 20% of NSW will be banned from getting these new machines.

There are online companies though that are willing to get penalized saying that these fines are treated “as normal cost in running a business”. Unfortunately for them, the penalties will be quite serious and could range from $5,000 to $55,000.

A Response to New Companies Entering the Australian Market

One of the reasons for these changes was due to the wave of wagering outlets that have tried to enter the Australian market. These are both local and international-based companies such as Sportsbet, CrownBet, Bet365, and Ladbrokes.

According to NSW Gaming and Racing Minister Paul Toole, he mentioned that problem gambling areas will be a “no-go zone” for the new poker machines. Under the new regulations, there will be things considered such as socio-economic factors. He said that “In the past, socio-economic factors were at 33 percent weighting, today it is going to be 70 percent weighting”. It only means that there will be a greater consideration before the approval of having new machines to be placed in certain areas.

He also added that the Australian Bureau of Statistics data will play a huge role in the overall decision-making process.

It looks at the income of those communities, it looks at unemployment—these are the factors that we need to consider when any application is being put forward for additional gaming machines in an area”.

However, he denied that the move was unfairly targeting poorer suburbs. He said that “I think this is a balance approach in trying to address the concerns put forward by the community”.

Reductions in Poker Machines and Not a Cap

Greens MP Justin Field believes that it is imperative that the communities don’t get a cap on the number of machines. Instead, there should be a reduction in the number of these poker machines. He said that “The government needs to commit to reducing the number of machines”.

If you will look at areas like Fairfield, they have more machines than entire Tasmania according to the Alliance for Gambling Reform. Stephen Mayne has mentioned that “It’s a very disappointing package of changes, thinking at the edges”.

Do you think that cap on poker machines is already a good move in helping communities? Or do you think that there should be a reduction in the number of existing poker machines for the regulation to really make an impact in helping at-risk communities?