NSW licensed venues will be the first in Australia to switch on their poker machines as COVID-19 restrictions ease.
Pokies in NSW are back in business from June 1, but gaming rooms must ensure a 1.5 metre space between players. Machines are likely to be separated or every second machine switched off.
A NSW Health Checklist provided to clubs states that businesses should develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan to comply with Public Health Orders.
It includes a directive to “clean frequently touched areas and surfaces several times per day with a detergent or disinfectant solution or wipe … this includes electronic gaming machines.”
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello (above), who is responsible for liquor and gaming regulation, said the NSW Government had liaised exhaustively with both AHA and ClubsNSW to establish the rules for clubs reopening.
NSW clubs have on average experienced an 87% decline in monthly revenue since March 23, resulting in a collective $212 million monthly net loss.
ClubsNSW said: “It should be noted that the NSW Government’s announcement is a significant step towards normal trading conditions and is considerably more favourable to industry than is the case in other Australian jurisdictions to-date.
“ClubsNSW thanks the NSW Government for their support and willingness to engage with industry to reach this outcome.”
Earlier this month, Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said it wouldn’t be until July before “gaming type venues” could reopen.
Other states do not have plans to reopen gaming rooms as quickly.
In Victoria, gaming rooms are due to remain closed throughout June with no plans yet to reopen. No date has been set in South Australia for when poker machine rooms can reopen. In Queensland, poker machines won’t be accessible until at least July 10.