The proposal for a cashless gambling card was controversial enough to cause a division in the Perrottet government. However, the new gaming minister is to dump the compulsory pokies card with NSW favouring opt-in digital payments.
The reform introducing cashless gaming cards was introduced in 2020 by Victor Dominello, NSW Customer Service and Digital Minister. The cashless payment method was supposed to have both recreational players and high-risk gamblers charge funds into their respective smart cards. The cashless pokies cards were just a part of a larger-scale plan to introduce cashless gambling, followed by attempts to implement cashless gaming machines in Wests city.
Mixed Opinions Among MPs On Cashless Gambling Cards
The proposal for smart cards allowing cashless gambling was backed up by Patricia Bergin who is a former Supreme Court judge. Mr Dominello presented Mrs Bergin with the task of conducting an inquiry into Crown Resorts, with Mrs Bergin reporting that a cashless gambling card could be used to help prevent money laundering.
Despite the cashless card having some support within the NSW cabinet, there have been mixed opinions on the proposed measure. However, the issue of cashless gambling cards is no longer handled by Mr Dominello as Racing Minister, Kevin Anderson, took his position in December.
According to Reverend Tim Costello, chief advocate for Alliance for Gambling Reform, the reason why Mr Dominello was laid off from his position was several major gambling businesses were scared by the changes proposed by him.
In a talk with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Anderson expressed his support for digital gaming payments. However, he noted that they should be introduced as an optional payment method rather than being mandatory and controlled by the government.
Mr Anderson noted that the results of the ongoing inquiry led by the NSW Crime Commission will also be taken into consideration. He noted that the findings of the review will reveal useful information on the correlation between organised crime and the use of poker machines as money laundering tools.
Fate of Cashless Gambling Cards Still Not Decided, Mixed Opinions Within NSW Cabinet
While there are speculations that the proposal of cashless gambling cards will be ditched completely, the fate of the mandatory cashless pokie cards is still not confirmed as the controversial proposal divided the members of the NSW cabinet.
At the time of Mr Anderson’s appointment to the Gambling Minister position, ClubsNSw expressed its support for the new minister. Previously, Josh Landis, CEO of ClubsNSW also approved of the inquiry, ensuring that the organisation is waiting for the proper resolution to the issue, helping clubs prevail over organised crime.
However, the government gave in to pressure from the clubs and hotels, which were trying to maintain their profits generated through pokies, independent MP Justin Field shared. He also added that the suggestion for opt-in digital payments is ‘fanciful nonsense’ as no organised criminals will willingly make use of cashless cards to launder money through pokies.
Meanwhile, the leader of the opposition, Chris Minns, was vague in his commentary on the issue, noting that this was a problem that was not easy to handle. Mr Minns also added he was hoping that whatever the government’s decision on the proposed changes will be, they will be transparent and candid with their actions.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.