Gaming Machine Reforms

The NSW Government has introduced the most significant changes to gambling regulation in NSW for more than a decade. The changes follow extensive community and industry consultation. For the most part the changes address issues in relation with gambling harm mostly by providing more regulation and oversight for areas considered to have an elevated risk.

Significant changes have been made to the LIA Scheme which regulates the movement of gaming machines and caps the number of gaming machines that venues in high risk areas can possess at any given time.

Local Impact Assessment – ‘Bands’ Assessment and Move from LGAs to SA2s
Previously, the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority has classified communities into three ‘Bands’ according to the risk of gambling-related harm, with high risk being Band 3, and low-risk being Band 1.

Following the council amalgamation process, it was identified that some LGAs are too large to accurately represent a ‘local community’. The Authority will now use Statistical Area 2s (SA2s), which are much smaller than LGAs.

  • Hotels located in Band 1 SA2s will continue to be able to increase their Gaming Machine Threshold (GMT) by up to 20 in a year.

  • Hotels in Band 2 SA2s will continue to be able to apply for a GMT increase of up to 20 in a year via a Class 1 LIA application.

  • Hotels located in Band 3 SA2s will no longer be able to apply to increase their GMT unless they source GMEs from within another Band 3 SA2 located within their LGA, or a Band 3 SA2 that shares a border with their SA2.

To determine whether your premises is eligible to increase its GMT look at this flowchart.

To further understand the process of increasing your premises GMT look at this document prepared by Liquor and Gaming NSW.

Leasing of Gaming Machine Entitlements
Small hotels (those with 10 or fewer GMEs) can now offer them for lease between one and five years. Lease payments will be negotiated and agreed between the two venues, and must be a flat fee, rather than a percentage of future revenue. No forfeiture will be required as part of the leasing scheme.

All lessee venues will be required to pay a levy of 5% of lease payments to the Responsible Gambling Fund to help fund harm minimisation, economic and social services in local community.

Miscellaneous Changes

  • Fines of up to $11,000 and increased disciplinary measures for those who breach club governance and management requirements.

  • A revised leasing scheme for gaming machines held by small hotels and clubs, providing a new pathway for them to go machine-free.

  • Modernised and consistent regulations for casinos in NSW.

  • A mandate that directs LIA community contributions through the Responsible Gambling Fund that ensures that money is spent locally.

We highly recommend reviewing the specific gaming changes to ensure compliance with the law the full details of which can be found here. Should you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact our office.