Patrons who visit poker machine lounges from 7pm onwards will be required to remain inside the venue until the following morning, after new lock-in laws come into effect across New South Wales on December 1.
Affected punters will be permitted to change games, take a five-minute toilet break, and be given full access to bar and ATM facilities for the duration of each lock-in period, according to a state government press release, which touts the move as a logical next step after the success of the lockout laws introduced in 2014.
“We’ve seen firsthand how controlling people’s movements rather than addressing the underlying issue can really sweep a problem under the rug,” the statement reads. “This new law will stop problem gamblers being abused by their partners when they get home, by ensuring they don’t come home. It’s really that simple.”
ClubsNSW praised the new law, saying it was time problem gamblers had a win.
“We’ve heard horror stories from unlucky people who have lost their week’s wage in an evening, to only go home and cop it again from the family,” a spokesperson said. “It really messes with gamblers’ mental health.”
Poker-machine enthusiasts agreed.
“I’ve had more ear bashings than hot dinners and they’re really starting to mess me up. It’s not like I’m trying to lose!” one punter said. “These laws will give me a cool-down period so I have a chance to win back the money or at least get a payday loan before facing the missus. It’s forward thinking.”