Australian Study Sends Alarm As More Problem Gamblers Playing Pokies Before 8am

Updated On May 19, 2023 by Ella McDonald

a guy loses whilst playing on a slot machineSummary:

  • Two-thirds of those playing pokies before 8 am are either problem gamblers or at risk
  • The study found that problem gambling risk could be reduced if venue access is limited at night
  • The NSW government will ban gaming-related signage from September 1

As pokie machines problems continue to make headlines in New South Wales (NSW), Australia a new study has exposed the negative effect on players of extended opening hours of clubs operating pokies.

According to research commissioned under ex-Premier Dominic Perrottet’s administration, nearly two-thirds of people playing pokie machines before 8 a.m. are either problem gamblers or at risk of developing a problem.

Earlier Closing Times Could Reduce Problem Gambling Risk

The study, conducted by Roy Morgan Research on behalf of Liquor and Gaming NSW, found that more problem gamblers (22.8%) were playing pokies into the morning, between 2 am and 8 am, with 41.8% of those playing during these hours also classified as “moderate risk”.

Of those that play pokies between midnight and 2 am, 12.1% accounted for problem gamblers. Meanwhile, the number of problem gamblers using pokie machines between 10 pm and midnight and between 8 am and 10 pm were much fewer, accounting for 7.3% and 3.1% of all players, respectively.

Implementing earlier closing hours for clubs, pubs, and casinos across NSW would help address the issue, as it would allow problem gamblers to “have a break”, the study said. It also found that the majority of pokie machine players stopped gambling when venues closed. Thus, the risk of problem gambling could be minimized if pubs and clubs limit their night-time operations.

The study involved a survey of more than 625 pokie machine gamblers across NSW and also took into account data from fieldwork conducted in 2021 and 2022. Earlier venue closures would reduce harm for late-night gamblers and those at risk of problem gambling or already experiencing gambling-related issues, the study concluded.

Ban on Pokie Machine Signage From Sept. 1

The study’s findings were announced as the government proceeds with its plan to prohibit pokie machine street signs, including VIP Lounge signage, from all venues by September 1. Pubs and clubs must have discarded all gambling signage before that date or face sanctions, as the government will adopt a zero-tolerance policy on the ban.

Putting up gaming-related signage on the streets is prohibited under existing state laws, but venues have circumvented the rules by advertising VIP Lounges, according to NSW Gaming Minister David Harris. The new rules will close that loophole, he added.

The current government, led by Labour Premier Chris Minns, is also set to carry out an expanded trial of cashless gaming starting July 1.

Ella McDonald Author

Worldwide gambling related news stories are what you will find being written by Ella, she has a keen interest however in UK and European based new stories relating to all gaming environments, and she is always prepared to ask the difficult questions many other journalists avoiding asking those in power.

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