Premier Gladys Berejiklian has revealed key details about how and when NSW restrictions will ease for vaccinated NSW residents when the state hits its 80 per cent vaccination goal.

Ms Berejiklian confirmed the state is set to hit its 70 per cent vaccination goal on October 11, with the 80 per cent goal due to be reached about two weeks after that. Full easing of restrictions is expected on 1 December.

With venues reopening The Drop asked leading industry specialists in Gaming and Marketing what they are working on now in preparation for the step-wise easing of restrictions starting in October.

Gaming Priorities – Justine Channing Gaming Specialist (Cream Gaming)


The obvious priority is that you are only allowed 1 person per 4m2 inside and 1 person per 2m2 outside so there will be some machine movements to accommodate these restrictions. However, I believe the older age groups may be slow to return to clubs this time. People will be wary after such a prolonged lockdown to return to the world even after being fully vaccinated with the older groups wary of the potential risk of “breakthrough” cases. This will impact how you choose to set up your indoor gaming areas and the games that are prioritised in indoor Vs outdoor areas.


Many higher-level players are small business owners, have been out of work for some time, and haven’t had the financial support (JobKeeper, rental assistance for businesses) that was available in 2020, so there may be a different level of play on reopening for many of these players compared to what we saw in June 2020. Additionally, it will only be fully vaccinated people allowed into venues which again reduces the numbers and will mean a softer start than 2020. Renewing a connection with these players quickly will be very competitive among clubs and hotels. If possible, ensure you have a few new games available on your floor quickly, so they have something different to interest them and ensure you retain these gaming focused players.


No mention has been made in the official NSW Fact Sheet (attached below) that there are social distancing requirements on a gaming floor. The cap relates only to numbers of people based on the per square meter rule. Unless something changes between now and reopening, I would be inclined not to switch off every second machine, but rather let people choose the games they want to play from the full floor. However, even though these changes are for fully vaccinated people only, some people may still be wary of sitting too close to others so some distancing on the most popular games may prove to be an advantage. Additionally, from the 1st December, when all people regardless of vaccination status will be allowed in if you choose to allow it, further machine moves to accommodate nervous players may be required.


When reaching out to your opted in gaming machine players it is important to recognise that they enjoy playing and it is the main area of interest for them in communications. They aren’t interested in your opening restaurant specials but will be keen to find out about new gaming machines. Let them know what new games you have on your gaming floor and the game features, if any of their favourites are being moved around, if you have a new gaming room opening and as they haven’t been in for months … how high are those link jackpots?

Marketing Priorities – Linda Joannides – Marketing (for Gaming) Specialist – Your Marketing Mentor

  • RE-ENGAGEMENT – Especially with your most valuable members

Directly engage with your members at least a week BEFORE opening, especially your most valuable members (not just via social media). Highlight that the health and safety of members is a priority e.g. you are a Covid safe venue and what you are doing to maintain that; that all staff are fully vaccinated & only vaccinated patrons will be allowed to enter premises etc.   Also let members know what will be open at your venue and at what times – let them know what to expect when you reopen.

Follow up with an updated message – SMS text to VIP members – day prior to opening.

Plan your re-engagement strategy for the next 3 months as more opportunities and access becomes available.


We are entering a whole new world and old data from pre-lockdown will not be relevant. It has never been more important to monitor data daily – so you know who is back and reward them, and who is missing and may need an incentive to reactivate. Also have a plan for acquisition over the next 3 months, there could be a lot of member movement and new opportunities for growth.


Offer an incentive for your most valuable members and/or a welcome back surprise and delight for at least the first two weeks of opening. Have an activation plan for next three months as more opportunities and access becomes available.


Ensure all venue comms are up to date and operational before opening –that includes websites, social media, signage, inhouse screens etc. We closed down quickly over a weekend back in June and I am sure there is a lot of out of date material in-house that has yet to be fixed. You want to be concentrating on engagement and activation from day one, not running around fixing up out of date material for the first week.

From the NSW government

NSW reminds businesses that it is mandatory for businesses that sell food and drinks to have an updated COVID-19 Safety Plan – completed in full, ahead of reduced restrictions. This includes businesses such as pubs, clubs, small bars, cellar doors, micro-breweries, restaurants, cafes, karaoke bars, casinos and all other hospitality venues.

The most up-to-date COVID-19 Safety Plan can be found here>>> https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/covid-safe/hospitality

NSW Easing of Restrictions FACT SHEET >>>  FACT SHEET


Contact Details

Linda Joannides – Your Marketing Mentor:

Justine Channing – Cream Gaming: