High risk communities in Central West to have pokie numbers capped

Nyngan is regarded as a high-risk community, which will see a cap on poker machines under proposed NSW government legislation.

No additional gaming machines will be allowed in a majority of the state’s west as part of a proposed crackdown on problem gambling.

Nyngan-Warren is among a number of communities in the Far West that are classified as “band three” communities that would be capped, Liquor and Gaming NSW data shows. 

The new system would use ABS Statistical Zones instead of council areas, with more emphasis on vulnerable areas. 

A map shows high-risk areas for problem gambling and social disadvantage (shaded red) where poker machine licences will be frozen. Photo: NSW Department of Industry

A map shows high-risk areas for problem gambling and social disadvantage (shaded red) where poker machine licences will be frozen. Photo: NSW Department of Industry

The majority of the Barwon electorate is “band three” and MP Kevin Humphries gave his support to NSW racing minister Paul Toole’s plan.

Mr Humphries says the number of poker machines can only go down as machines that are sold are subject to a redemption scheme - for every three machines sold, one of those licences is cancelled.

The MP highlighted a leasing scheme for gaming machines held by small hotels and clubs as an important part of the reform package.

He said that smaller pubs with six or less machines can investigate leasing options to venues in ‘band one’ zones, or sell in lots of three without having to redeem licences.

“In short, over time I predict a dilution of the number of gaming machines...which will better protect our communities from problem gambling risks, and ensure that clubs’ contribution to local community funds support responsible gambling initiatives,” he said.

Pat Walsh from the Nyngan Golf Club, agreed with Mr Humphries believing the proposal would not effect the town, and incur positive benefits.

“You would hate to see someone wack all their money in there wouldn’t you, and leave nothing left,” he said.

Other areas classified as “band three” communities that would be capped are Wellington, Coonabarabran, Gilgandra, Coonamble, Walgett-Lightning Ridge, Bourke-Brewarrina, and Far West areas. Suburbs of Dubbo are “band two” – medium risk – and won’t face a limit.