Pokies are set to return to New South Wales


New South Wales became the first state in Australia to open some significant doors for the gambling industry, with the restrictions on pokies machines relaxed on June 1. RSL clubs and pubs across New South Wales are now allowed to open their gaming rooms, under strict social distancing guidelines.

Large clubs are allowed a capacity of fifty people. Venues across New South Wales are allowed access to their gaming rooms, with 1.5 metre social distancing rule to be enforced between patrons.

The New South Wales gaming industry has welcomed the move, with a Clubs NSW spokesperson expecting their members to follow strict social distancing guidelines.

“Clubs will enforce social distancing measures, including the implementation of queuing systems and directional signage. Clubs will also introduce strict cleaning schedules to ensure high-touch surfaces are regularly cleaned and hand sanitiser will be made available throughout venues.”

NSW Australian Hotelier Association was happy with the move, labelling it “an important step forward and a welcome kick-start to the NSW economy.” NSW has the highest number of pokies machines in Australia, with nearly 100,000 in operation across the state.

The move to breathe life into the gaming industry will also provide an opportunity for the 75,000 hotel staff in New South Wales to return to work.

The Northern Territory is expected to follow suit, with punters set to be able to access pokies machines from June 5. Other states are yet to set a date to open their gaming rooms, with the exception of Western Australia, which doesn’t allow pokies machines outside of casinos.

New South Wales has continued to move ahead of the national policy set by the Australian Prime Minister and the national response to the pandemic. Scott Morrison had announced in May that gaming sites could be reopened as part of step three of the path out of lockdown.

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