A woman who has moved to Australia from South Africa has shared her confusion over the ‘ mysterious VIP Lounges’ at hundreds of pubs and bars.
After arriving in Sydney less than two months ago, Mahle Majola started documenting the everything she loved and struggled to understand about her new home country in a series of TikTok videos. The 28-year-old said she was baffled by the amount of ‘VIP lounges’ she saw around Sydney’s bars and pubs and decided to investigate what was inside.
As it is illegal to advertise pokie machines/slot machines at Australian pubs, most use VIP Lounge as a ‘code word’ to attract those who wish to gamble.
‘They’re in hotels, in restaurants, they are in bars, so I decided to actually go inside one to see what is actually going on because it seems like it’s different from what we have back home,’ she said.
‘It’s not like a section in a club where the celebs sit, it’s actually a gambling place,’ she joked once inside and confronted by a room full of pokie machines.
Mahle’s video racked up more than 75,000 views in just a day since it was posted and drew in dozens of comments from Australians clearing up her confusion.
‘It’s illegal to advertise pokie machines are inside, so they call it the ‘VIP lounge’,’ one viewer explained.
‘You will see these at pretty much every pub/club. It’s a section for pokey machines. FYI some pubs also have ‘hotel’ in their name but no rooms,’ a second replied.
Other Aussie viewers reassured Mahle saying they have been as confused by the gambling rooms which are governed by varying laws across each state and territory.
‘I grew up in Canberra where pubs aren’t allowed to have them, so I was equally confused until I asked somebody what it meant,’ one man admitted.
‘Haha same…when I moved to NSW I saw them everywhere and imagined they were a fancy room for special people,’ laughed another.
‘It’s the strangest thing, in Sydney every pub has pokies/slot machines,’ a third agreed.
‘Some clubs still have an actual VIP area. The name is terrible!’ a fourth said.