Gaming machine operations were shut down for over a 3-month period during COVID-19. Since re-opening in July, gaming expenditure understandably increased compared to last year. A range of reasons behind the increase included restrictions on other forms of entertainment, pent-up demand, and the community’s eagerness to resume some semblance of normality.
While gaming performance has now moderated to an extent post-COVID, as an industry we must reassure all stakeholders that we are continuing to comply with our responsible service of gambling requirements. Venues can demonstrate this by ensuring compliance and commitment to all legislative and best-practice harm minimisation practices.
Gaming Compliance Program
All gaming machine licence holders are required to have a documented compliance program in place that meets minimum standards. These standards are meant to help licensees meet their compliance obligations under the Gaming Machine Act 1991 (Qld). Gaming machine licensees also have compliance obligations for signage that must be displayed on licensed premises including gaming rules, cash payouts, and a range of responsible gambling information – many of these are contained in Queensland’s Responsible Gambling Code of Practice.
Responsible Gambling Code of Practice
The Code of Practice provides a proactive whole-of-industry approach to the promotion of responsible gambling practices. It also encourages the continuation of best practice for gambling environments that minimise harm to individuals and to the broader community.
What is responsible gambling?
Responsible gambling is the provision of safe, socially responsible and supportive gambling environments where the potential for harm associated with gambling is minimised and people can make informed decisions about their participation in gambling. The Code of Practice commits the gambling industry to implement and adhere to responsible gambling practices, with a particular focus on prevention and customer protection measures.
These practices are organised into the following broad categories:
- Provision of information - information about the potential risks associated with gambling and where to get help for problem gambling is prominently displayed.
- Interaction with customers and community – to support early intervention and prevention strategies, gambling providers establish links with local gambling-related support services.
- Exclusion provisions – provision of exclusion procedures and supporting documentation.
- Customer liaison role – a nominated person/s is available to assist customers with gambling-related problems.
- Physical environment – minors are prohibited; breaks in play are encouraged; RSA is applied to gaming customers; any child-care and play areas are managed to minimise exposure to gambling activities.
- Financial transactions - ATMs are not to be located in close proximity to gambling areas; cashing of cheques and payment of winnings protocols are followed; no credit betting (lending of money).
- Advertising and promotions – are delivered in a responsible manner with consideration given to the potential impact on people adversely affected by gambling. Are not false or misleading.
Technical Gaming Compliance
There are also a number of technical aspects to a gaming room which must meet required standards. These include:
Gaming machine consoles (bases) – strict dimensions in width and depth; console doors and hinges must meet minimum prescribed standards; cash box location and access requirements; key and lock mechanisms.
Important information regarding gaming machine console information can be found at: CLICK HERE
QHA checklists and resources
Members are encouraged to contact the QHA for assistance to implement or clarify any aspects mentioned in this article. We have several resources available including Compliance Checklists – now is the time to refocus on responsible gambling service