LATEST UPDATE FROM OLGR – Michael Sarquis – 18th May 2020

 

Monday 18 May 2020

Good evening

Queensland’s roadmap to easing COVID-19 restrictions indicates that gaming and gaming venues can open in Stage 3 (10 July 2020). We are currently working with industry peak bodies to prepare their own reopening guidelines to support industry groups.

We know you have many questions and we will continue to keep you updated over the coming weeks and months.

Social distancing and gaming machines

Under Stage 3, the social distancing requirement for keeping 1.5 metre between people and one person per 4 square metres will continue. Considering this, you may wish to think about how to position your gaming areas to ensure your venue complies with these requirements.

In many instances, simply disabling every second machine will not achieve the 1.5m distance requirements. While some form of partitioning may be desired, it is not mandatory, and will not replace or reduce social distancing requirements.

If you decide to relocate gaming machines within the currently approved gaming area, you can do so without approval from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (OLGR), however the disconnection and re-connection of the machines must be done by a licensed repairer through a licensed monitoring operator (LMO).

If you decide to remove gaming machines and place them into storage for a period of more than two months you will be required to seek approval by completing an Application to store gaming machines. Gaming machines must be stored in a suitable locked area preferably on the premises.

If you are seeking to increase your approved gaming area, you will need to lodge an application Form 7B – Application for relocation of gaming machines, amended plan, and pay a fee of $40.25. 

Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis with specific consideration of:

  • ratio of gaming floor space in comparison to the total publicly accessible floor space of the premises
  • relative size of the bar area in relation to other amenities
  • range of amenities provided.

Further advice is detailed in the following guidelines:

Gaming guideline G03: Plans for gaming applications including whole-of-site-plans
Gaming guideline G09: Gaming area plans
Gaming guideline G10: ATM and EFTPOS machines
Gaming guideline G11: Supervising gaming machines
Gaming guideline G12: Installing linked jackpot systems


Gaming machine preparation and maintenance

During the initial stages of the shutdown period you may have opted to power-off gaming machines. You may have received advice from your LMO or gaming equipment suppliers about recommended gaming machine maintenance, particularly in relation to gaming machine battery-backed components. To cater for the varied gaming machine suppliers and models, advice typically indicates that powering-on your gaming machines for a minimum of four hours at a time, once every three days, will help ensure battery components remain sufficiently charged.

Your LMO will continue to ensure all gaming machines are unable to be played before 10 July.

You are advised to take care when powering your gaming machines back on.

In particular:

  • Ensure gaming machines are individually powered off before turning the mains power on
  • Turn mains power on
  • Progressively power each gaming machine on one at a time
  • Turn on site controller and other communications equipment.


Gaming machines that are already powered on, should continue to remain on, and should be largely unaffected.

Towards late June/early July, LMOs will be coordinating efforts to power back on gaming machines by the commencement of Stage 3. This early period of preparing and testing will enable LMOs and venues to determine whether any repair work is required and arrange for this to occur. LMOs are putting together advice about this and will contact you. We will provide a link to this advice in a future update.

End-of-month reporting (Forms 42, 61 and 75)

Venues that have not operated gaming machines for a full calendar month are not expected to complete the Monthly Variances Record (Form 61) and Monthly Self-Assessment (Form 75). These forms are still required where gaming machines have operated for part of a month.

Similarly, where a venue’s accounting system does not automatically generate a Monthly Gaming Machine Reconciliation Report (Form 42) the licensee is not required to prepare this form for months where no gaming has occurred. If you have any questions about this please contact gamingcompliance@justice.qld.gov.au

Unclaimed TITO tickets

Under the Gaming Machine Act 1991, licensees are required to remit to the Queensland Government, any gaming machine payments that are unclaimed after 12 months. After this period, any person presenting to the venue seeking to have their TITO tickets redeemed are referred to OLGR to make the payment to the player.

Due to the COVID-19 compulsory closure, upon reopening patrons may present tickets greater than 12 months old. If you have already remitted these funds to the Queensland Government, please refer the patron to OLGR.

We look forward to providing you with further information as we continue to work collectively towards reopening.

Regards,

Michael Sarquis
Executive Director
Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation