Do you work at a licensed pub in NSW? Chances are your venue has poker machines as well as other gambling services for patrons. In today’s blog, we’re looking at eleven (11) essentials from the Responsible Conduct of Gambling course (RCG) that all NSW hotel workers should know.
Even if you don’t work directly in the gaming room you are still likely to encounter customers who play the pokies or participate in gambling activities. This blog will help you serve your customers in accordance with the law and reduce the likelihood of problem gambling at the venue.
For some people, gambling can be addictive and problem gambling can affect the mental health and wellbeing of a player as well as their families, their workplaces, and the general community.
Apart from significant financial impacts, problem gambling can also lead to family breakdowns, domestic violence, relationship problems, emotional distress, even suicide.
The NSW government has laws in place to reduce the harm caused by problem gambling and as a hotel worker, you must abide by your venue’s responsible gambling house policy and harm minimisation procedures.
All licensed premises in NSW that have poker machines or other gambling services must offer an exclusion program to their customers. This means that a patron can voluntarily ban (or self-exclude) themselves from the gaming room, or the entire hotel.
A gambling exclusion is legally binding and once in place must be upheld by hotel staff. Your venue will have a house policy and procedures for dealing with excluded patrons, but no matter where you work, always ensure that your customers are treated with dignity and their privacy is upheld at all times.
You would know from your RSA course that serving alcohol to a customer who is intoxicated is against the law. But you should also prevent intoxicated patrons from playing poker machines and gambling.
Alcohol can impair a person’s judgment, causing them to bet higher than they normally would, gamble for longer than planned, or become aggressive if they lose money.
Check with your duty manager if you are unsure of your venue’s house policy regarding gaming patrons and RSA.
Minors are not permitted to play poker machines under any circumstances, and it is a criminal offence to even allow someone who is under 18 into the gaming area of the hotel.
If you suspect that someone in the gaming room is under 18 you should (depending on your venue’s house procedures) ask them for ID and immediately inform security.
REMEMBER: even if a minor is with their parents or a responsible adult, they are still not allowed to enter gaming areas.
In the past, it was common practice for licensed venues to provide their best gaming customers with free drinks, free meals, gaming coupons, and venue credits. But these practices have been proven to increase the incidence of problem gambling and are now illegal.
This means you cannot provide free drinks to gambling patrons or loan them money. House policies vary from venue to venue so ask your duty manager about the procedures for politely declining requests for free drinks and credit.
Most licensed hotels in NSW have ATMs and EFTPOS facilities, and some also allow their regular patrons to cash personal cheques at the bar. It is important to remember that there are limits on how much money a patron can withdraw as well as the number of transactions per day.
Again, check your venue’s house policy remembering it is illegal to allow a patron to bet on credit — so you cannot allow your customers to get cash with credit cards.
Hotels with poker machines must provide information and brochures about gambling support services and the venue’s exclusion program. Brochures must always be available in hotel gaming areas and patrons can also request a brochure in a language other than English.
If a patron requests a gambling support brochure or asks you about the venue’s exclusion program you should discreetly refer the patron to the appropriate manager or supervisor. In larger venues, this could be the Gaming Manager or Customer Liaison Officer (CLO), and in smaller venues, it might be the duty manager or licensee.
Sometimes the spouse or extended family of a gambling patron may approach the venue to stage an intervention, ask for help, or to have the patron excluded from the venue.
This is a really tricky situation so you should immediately refer the person to the gaming manager, CLO, duty manager, or licensee — depending on the RCG House Policy at your venue.
Your venue will have an RCG logbook or incident report form to document gambling-related incidents at the hotel. Depending on your House Policy you should log incidents such as:
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, ensure you always maintain the privacy and dignity of your patrons. It is not appropriate to discuss a person’s gambling behaviour or activities, unless it is with the Gaming Manager, CLO, or licensee. Under no circumstances should these matters be disclosed to your friends, family members, and third parties, or other patrons.
How about doing the full Responsible Conduct of Gambling course and receiving your NSW RCG Competency Card. The course unpacks each of these 10 areas in detail and you’ll participate in role-play situations and real-life RCG scenarios. Check it out now.