The NSW State Government will utilize the funds received from an AU$100 million ($62 million) fine levied on The Star Sydney a year ago to fund harm minimization initiatives for the next five years. The funding was announced to coincide with the start of GambleAware Week.
The fine was imposed last year in October by the NSW Independent Casino Commission (NICC) in response to a damning inquiry into the casino’s operations that heard allegations of money laundering, fraud and criminal activity.
The following initiatives will be introduced as a result of the AU$100 million investment:
- AU$6.4 million ($4M) to enhance self-exclusion and introduce third-party exclusions in pubs and clubs
- AU$3.4 million ($2.2M) for an independent panel established to run and evaluate a cashless gaming trial in pubs and clubs
- AU$21.7 million ($13.8M) each year for the next three years to fund other gambling harm minimization initiatives and reforms
- AU$10 million ($6.3M) additional investment in 2023 for the provision of GambleAware counseling and support services
In a statement, the government noted that the funding for gambling harm minimization was the next step in its long-term commitment to tackling money laundering, implementing gaming reform, and reducing the harmful impacts of gambling across communities.
Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris
Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris said: “We know there are people out there experiencing gambling harm in our community, and we are concerned about the impact this has on individuals, their families, and the broader community. We are committed to increasing awareness of the risks of gambling, in all forms, and I can assure people there is a lot of help and support out there in NSW communities, that is freely available and accessible.”
Harris further noted GambleAware Week encourages individuals to talk with friends, family, or colleagues if they are worried about what gambling could be costing them, thus helping raise awareness of problem gambling.
“Our first budget delivers AU$100 million in harm minimization initiatives, including funding for the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling to provide support to people affected by gambling harm through these GambleAware services as well as working to prevent harm before it occurs by investing in education and awareness raising. Everyone has a role to play in keeping our community safe. We encourage everyone to take part in GambleAware Week and show our combined commitment to preventing gambling harm.”
The use of proceeds from the AU$100 million fine levied on Star follows other gambling harm prevention measures including a recent ban on external gambling-related signage at pubs and clubs and reducing the cash input limit from AU5,000 ($3,187) to 500 ($318) for all new electronic gaming machines from 1 July 2023.
Other measures include capping the number of gaming machine entitlements in circulation, banning political donations from clubs involved in gaming, introducing Responsible Gaming Officers at venues with more than 20 machines, and expanding a third-party exclusion register to the whole state.