The Government of New South Wales (NSW) has classified the Peninsula as a high-risk area. As a result, the number of pokies there are set to be limited to their current number.
For the time being, the Peninsula offers a total of 768 poker machines, which is about 1 machine per 46 people in the region. The area’s population currently amounts to approximately 36,000. Mr. Paul Toole, the NSW Minister for Racing, explained that putting a limit on the pokies offered to the local community would come as an adequate answer to concerns that some areas of the state feature too many gambling machines.
The Minister for Racing further shared that the limits that are to be imposed are part of the package of reforms that is aimed at bringing some significant changes to the existing gambling regulation in the state of New South Wales in more than a decade.
Last week, the local Government revealed its plans to overhaul the gambling industry of the state, with some restrictions on new poker machines planned to be imposed in the so-called high-risk areas. The NSW Government also shared that it intends to increase fines imposed on gambling operators violating the region’s legislation and regulatory rules.
Government Aimed at Tackling Gambling-Related Harm
Under the newly-proposed changes, the regions are to be classified, with three categories available, including Band 1 (low risk), Band 2 (medium risk) and Band 3 (high risk). It is the third category that is planned to be subjected to an area cap, with the number of poker machines to be limited to the existing ones.
As mentioned above, Minister for Racing said that the reforms include a reorganization of the Local Impact Assessment (LIA) scheme, which has been set to regulate gaming machine movement. According to Mr. Toole, the changes will bring more transparency and surety for the industry, as well as more community consultation. Gaming machines owned by small clubs and hotels are also planned to see a special leasing scheme that would offer some new opportunities. The New South Wales Government intends to roll-out special regulatory rules for club, as well as stricter penalties for possible violations made.
The reforms would be implemented as a reasonable result of extensive consultation and come as part of the new regulatory package, said Minister Toole. He reminded that gambling-related harm has brought serious concern to local communities, so more comprehensive regulation was needed in order to deal with the possible negative consequences that can occur as a result of gambling addiction.
Due to the fact that the Peninsula area has been classified as a high-risk one (or a Band 3 one), the Government would not allow the number of pokies to be increased.
Reportedly, there are currently three clubs and three hotels offering 504 pokies across 10 permits in the area classified as Booker Bay, Umina and Patonga. There are three clubs and two hotels featuring a total of 250 poker machines across 4 permits in Woy Woy-Blackwall.