The NSW Labor Party has unveiled its gambling reform policy ahead of the state election in March, promising to reduce the number of poker machines across the state, introduce a cashless gaming card trial and ban all ‘VIP lounge’ signage. The City of Sydney last week announced a review of ‘VIP Lounge’ signs in its council area.
(image: NSW Labor/Twitter)
“We are leading the way with real policy reform that will reduce the number of pokies in NSW, while fighting problem gambling and money laundering and investing in harm minimisation measures to address this problem head on,” said NSW Labor leader Chris Minns (pictured right). “Our state deserves nothing less.”
In response to the NSW Liberal government’s proposal to introduce cashless gaming cards, Labor's gambling reform policy includes a 12-month trial of cashless gaming from July 1. Minns said a trial was necessary to assess how new cashless technology could impact 127,000 people employed by the clubs and pubs industry.
Labor also promised to ban all ‘VIP Lounge’ signage that advertises locations where people can access gaming machines. Gambling-related signs are illegal but many pubs and other venues evade the law by using the ‘VIP Lounge’ signs as a code for poker machines.
(Image and signwork SWS Signage)
NSW Labor’s gambling reform policy follows last year’s NSW Crime Commission report that revealed money was being laundered through the state’s 95,000 poker machines.
Labor also plans to ban political parties from accepting financial donations from clubs that have gaming machines, as well as limiting cash feed-in limits to $500 a machine for all new poker machines – down from the current limit of $5,000.
The City of Sydney last week announced a review of flashing ‘VIP Lounge’ signs outside Sydney pubs to see if they comply with council rules covering “excessive or special illumination schemes.” If the signs are found to be unauthorised, they could be removed.