Australia: Venue design is not child’s play


New guidelines have been issued for the approval of Victorian gaming venues which relate to the location and design of children’s play areas.

Many clubs and hotels which operate as gaming venues, also offer dining, entertainment and recreational facilities which appeal to families.  These venues are required to have their venue approved as a condition of their gaming licences. As part of the approval process for new venues, and modifications to the layout of existing venues, the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (Commission) will now need to consider whether the location and design of any children’s play areas is appropriate.

These guidelines are simply the latest in a long line of measures to shield children from gambling in Victoria, where the law already prohibits minors from entering licensed gaming machine areas or casinos and requires those areas to be supervised to ensure minors do not enter them.

The factors that the Commission must consider in assessing the suitability of the children’s play area address concerns about children witnessing their parents engaging in gambling activities; children being left unsupervised on licensed premises and children being exposed to the sights and sounds of gaming machines. Parents will no longer be able to leave their children in play areas, while “supervising” them from the seat of their poker machine as venues must now ensure that any children’s play area:

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 to being monitored by venue staff to help ensure that minors are not left unattended.

New venues and existing venues planning renovations will need to carefully consider these factors when designing their premises.