Children's play areas and gaming venues

Children's play areas and gaming venues

Posted March 12, 2014

New guidelines (16 October 2013) have been released for gaming venues relating to the design and location of children’s play areas, the latest in a succession of measures already in place to shield children from gambling messages. Research suggests that one in five adults with gambling problems begin gambling before they turn 18 (VCGLR News, Spring 2013). The potential harm of gambling on minors has been an area of growing concern, particularly through the influence of social media, sport, online games and advertising. Experts have explored the potential for harm to teenagers due to exposure to gambling messages, with the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation responding with numerous youth engagement strategies to tackle the issue.

As the evidence suggests minors are less able to resist gambling messages, decision-making guidelines concerning children’s play areas in premises approved for gaming were tabled on 16 October 2013 in an expansive approach to preventing gambling-related harm in the community.

Numerous Victorian clubs and hotels that operate as gaming venues already provide a combination of family facilities, dining, recreation and entertainment. For the location and design of a children's play area to be deemed appropriate, gaming venues will need to have their venue approved as a condition of their gaming licences.

The VCGLR will consider a number of factors when assessing the suitability of a children’s play area, including concerns regarding children seeing their parents engaged in gambling; exposure to gaming machines; and unsupervised children on licensed premises.

If you wish to modify a gaming area within your premises, you will need to specify how the premises will provide a responsible gambling environment, including outlining the location and appropriateness of a children’s play area.

The Victorian Government will be ensuring that adequate provisions are adopted in gaming venues for the wellbeing of minors, and will be supporting appropriate measures to ensure that:

  • gaming venues are not designed or operated in such a way that encourages a responsible adult to gamble while children in their care are on the premises;
  • children are not left unattended on the premises while their responsible adult gambles; and
  • children are not exposed to the sights and sounds of gaming machines while on the premises.

When assessing the suitability of a gaming venue for a children's play area, the VCGLR will consider several factors to ensure a responsible gambling environment.

Several Factors Considered by VCGLR:

  1. is located as far away as practicable from the gaming machine area
  2. does not have a line of sight from the play area into the gaming machine area or from the gaming machine area into the play area;
  3. does not permit sounds from gaming machines to be heard in the children’s play area
  4. is not directly accessible from the gaming machine area; and
  5. is conducive

For further information, contact Leigh Barrett & Associates.