Concerns raised over NSW cashless pokies plan

NSW has 95,000 pokie machines.
NSW has 95,000 pokie machines.

Critics have raised questions about civil liberties and the financial impact on clubs and pubs  

Australia.- The New South Wales (NSW) government’s proposed plans for a system of cashless pokies is already raising concerns.

The initiative would require players to register for government-issued gambling cards, which would be linked to the state’s exclusion register. The aim is to block gamblers at risk of addiction from using pokies. 

But former NSW Labour leader Michael Daley has warned the scheme could hit clubs’ and pubs’ finances at the worst possible moment.

He said: “Some of these measures could really devastate pubs and clubs at a time when their survival is under threat and protecting jobs is paramount.” 

Daley was formerly in charge of the NSW gaming and racing shadow portfolio. He also raised concerns about civil liberties due to the fact that the proposed gambling cards customers would need would retain records of people’s activity. 

NSWClubs, a trade body representing more than 1,200 clubs in the state, also said it was a bad time to force through expensive new schemes. Chief executive Josh Landis said any measures should be effective and affordable.

Critics have also said the system would rely on “fallible and hackable” cloud-based solutions. 

Electronic gaming machines generated AU$6.5 billion (US$4.7 billion) for clubs in 2019. 

The state has 95,000 pokies, which bring in AU$1 billion (US$720 million) in state taxes each year and create as many as 100,000 jobs. 

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