NSW Government Expands Cashless Gaming Trial
The NSW Government’s Independent Panel on Gaming Reform has taken a significant leap in its gambling reform efforts by agreeing to expand the cashless gaming trial.
This move introduces around 4,500 machines across 28 clubs and hotels in 24 metropolitan and regional areas, marking a substantial increase from the initial stages of the trial.
A Diverse and Comprehensive Trial
The trial, set to begin in the first quarter of 2024, will include a wide array of venues of different sizes. This approach aims to gather comprehensive data and develop informed recommendations for the NSW Government on the use of cashless gaming technology.
The focus is on understanding its impact on reducing gambling harm and money laundering, as well as its effects on club and hotel employees, infrastructure requirements, and associated costs.
Rigorous Participation Criteria and Technology Involvement
To be a part of this trial, venues had to meet minimum requirements including harm minimisation, anti-money laundering, data security, and privacy protections.
Additionally, five technology providers have received conditional approval to participate, subject to essential cybersecurity requirements.
These new machines complement the trials already conducted at Wests Newcastle and Club York, which provided valuable early insights.
No Australian jurisdiction has yet implemented a statewide cashless gaming system, making the information from this expanded trial particularly crucial.
The cashless gaming trial is overseen by the Independent Panel on Gaming Reform, established by the NSW Government in July. This Panel includes representatives from various sectors, including industry bodies like ClubsNSW, harm minimisation groups like Wesley Mission, academia, law enforcement, unions, and individuals with personal experience in gambling. Their goal is to find a consensus on a pathway for gambling reform in NSW.
The Independent Panel is expected to deliver a gaming reform report to the NSW Government by November 2024, incorporating findings from the cashless gaming trial.
This report is part of a broader effort by the Minns Government to reduce gambling harm and combat money laundering, which includes several other reforms like reducing the cash input limit for new poker machines and banning political donations from gaming-involved clubs.
Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris remarked, “This trial is bigger, broader and delivers nine times more machines than we committed to during the election campaign… The industry is clearly behind us as we undergo these landmark gaming reforms as part of our commitment to addressing money laundering and gambling harm in NSW.”
Panel Chair Michael Foggo added, “The independent panel… has been buoyed by the large number of applications it received for the trial. This demonstrates the depth of genuine support this trial has in the industry and its commitment to addressing gambling harm and money laundering.”
Our Comment on the Article
The expansion of the cashless gaming trial by the NSW Government marks a pivotal moment in the efforts to reform gambling practices.
By encompassing a broader range of venues and integrating advanced technology, the trial is not just a step towards minimizing gambling-related harm but also a proactive measure against money laundering.
The collaborative approach, involving various stakeholders, underlines the seriousness and commitment of the NSW Government and the gaming industry towards creating a safer and more responsible gambling environment. This trial could set a precedent for other jurisdictions, leading the way in responsible gambling practices and legislative reform.