New South Wales (NSW) is set to roll out a trial of cashless slots gambling, as local officials are willing to see whether the measure can help the reduction of money laundering and problem gambling in the state.
The newest initiative to introduce cashless gaming terminals in the state will be carried out by West Group’s Newcastle club. The program is set to start in August and will include several hundred players. According to reports, it will implement a specialized digital wallet that is aimed at helping with the prevention of money laundering and customer protection.
The idea for the implementation of cashless gambling terminals has been under consideration for more than a year, so it is now entering a stage of trials. The new technology is set to be implemented on 38 gaming machines by Aristocrat Leisure, an Australian tech company and mobile games publisher. According to expectations, the amendments will affect approximately 300 casino patrons.
Kevin Anderson, the Hospitality and Racing Minister of New South Wales, revealed that slots manufacturers IGT and Utopia Gaming had also expressed interest, with 2 more applicants for participation in the scheme currently being under consideration. Mr Anderson shared that the upcoming trials are set to explore different technologies and solutions with the common goal of addressing anti-money laundering and harm minimisation measures.
12-Week Trial to See E-Wallets Linked to Players’ Identity and Bank Accounts
The trial will run for 12 weeks and will see patrons opt-in for an e-wallet linked to their personal bank accounts and, respectively, to their identity. They will be given the opportunity to transfer credit from their mobile phones to the machines via Bluetooth.
As confirmed by the New South Wales authorities, the testing is supported by the state’s gambling industry, with the global slot machine operator Aristocrat Gaming set to oversee the experiment. The plan, however, has not been backed by NSW pubs and clubs, which currently host the majority of the slot machines across the state.
For the time being, there are 95,000 slot machines, also known as pokies, in the state of New South Wales. Most of them are hosted outside of casinos, which basically means they are not subject to the same level of strict oversight as the ones situated in gambling venues.
The announcement for the cashless slots gaming comes at a time when the NSW Crime Commission (NSWCC) – the most powerful criminal intelligence agency in the state – is investigating alleged money laundering through slot machines in the non-gaming sector. The probe has been initiated following authorities’ concerns that Australia has only 0.3% of the world’s population, but at the same time holds 17% of the world’s pokies situated in non-gaming venues. For the time being, the country also has some of the higher gambling addiction rates on a global scale.
The implementation of new cashless payments is set to help players set spending limits and receive real-time data on their spending, especially at a time when the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) has been complaining it did not have the powers to tackle potential money laundering in the country’s non-gaming sector. The organisation wants to see local pubs and clubs held accountable for potentially allowing money laundering to take place on their premises, with the amount that is believed to be washed through poker machines in non-gaming venues across the country being estimated at no less than AU$1 billion.
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.