This article appeared in the February 2018 issue of Club Life.
Clubs undertaking renovations to their premises need to consider the requirements of the Gaming Machines Act if the renovations involve a temporary or permanent relocation of the club’s gaming room.
Moving a gaming room will require the club to apply for the approval of the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) to change the non-restricted areas at the club’s premises (Variation Application). The club will need to attach a plan of the licensed premises which clearly sets out the existing licensed premises, the proposed non-restricted areas and the proposed restricted areas (including the new gaming room).
When deciding on the location of the new gaming room, a club should ensure that the gaming machines are not located in a manner that:
- is designed to attract the attention of members of the public who are outside the club’s premises; and
- is contrary to the public interest.
This is because, under the Gaming Machines Act, the Secretary of the Department of Industry may give a written notice to the club that requires the club to move or screen the gaming machines in accordance with the notice.
A club should lodge the Variation Application as soon as practicable after determining the new location of the gaming room. However, the club may relocate the gaming room before the Variation Application is approved by ILGA. This is because there are no provisions in the Gaming Machines Act which specify where gaming machines can be located in clubs (except for the requirement that machines must be located on a club’s licensed premises) and, for the purposes of the Gaming Machines Act, a “gaming machine area” means any part of the premises in which gaming machines are located. Also, there is no specific prohibition in the Registered Clubs Act on a gaming machine being located in a non-restricted area.
If a club relocates the gaming machine room before the Variation Application is approved, the club must ensure that minors do not access the new gaming room (or the former gaming room area until the Variation Application is approved). This will require the club to put up appropriate signage at the entrance of the new gaming room stating that minors cannot enter the area, ensure appropriate policies and procedures are put in place to prevent minors from entering the new gaming room and any minors found in the new gaming room are immediately removed, and to ensure the other requirements of the Gaming Machines Act and Gaming Machines Regulation are observed (such as the placement of clocks and the display of signage regarding gaming etc).
Notwithstanding this, I strongly recommend that the Variation Application is approved before the club relocates the gaming room. This will ensure that the club has the opportunity to address any possible issue relating to the location of the new gaming room and reduces the risk of a minor accessing a restricted area.
If you require any assistance to prepare a Variation Application or wish to discuss any issues raised by this article, please contact Bruce Gotterson on 8251 7777 or at email@example.com.
This article is intended to provide general information in summary form on a legal topic, current at the time of publication. The contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. Formal legal advice should be sought in specific circumstances.