Disagreements continue over NSW cashless gambling cards proposal

The proposal will not go ahead for now.
The proposal will not go ahead for now.

Prime minister Dominic Perrottet was in favour of the cashless gaming card proposal.

Australia.- New South Wales’s cashless gambling card proposal didn’t make it into new gambling legislation presented this week, but it continues to generate debate. Prime minister Dominic Perrottet is reported to be in favour of introducing mandatory cashless gaming cards. However, deputy Premier Paul Toole said the technology is not ready.

Charles Livingstone, a Monash University associate professor and gambling policy expert, has now countered that, arguing that the proposal could be rolled out within two years with sufficient political will. He noted Tasmania planned to make its entire system cashless by 2024.

Toole had said: “It’s going to be very difficult to introduce something if the technology’s not available to actually introduce it right now. So we need to work with the industry to determine how those cashless gaming cards are to be introduced and how they’re going to look.”

Livingstone said: “There are a number of older machines … and some of those may take a little bit more tweaking, but they all have to be hooked up to the monitoring system [already].

“Probably three-quarters of them are capable of transmitting the data through a monitoring system tomorrow if they needed to. The only real issue is making sure the protocol is right, making sure that you’ve got a supplier who can do it. If you gave them two years to do it, [it] should all be rolled out by the beginning of 2025.”

See also: Australia to include stark new warnings on gambling ads

Toole had noted that clubs were a valuable resource for NSW and had been used as evacuation centres as well as Covid-19 vaccination centres. Opposition leader, Chris Minns has noted that ClubsNSW believes adopting the cashless card technology would cost AU$1.8bn and lead to thousands of job losses.

The cashless gaming card proposal had been suggested by the New South Wales Crime Commission (NSWCC) after its report into money laundering. Sydney independent MP Alex Greenwich has been pushing the proposal. For now, proposed new legislation focuses on administrative changes and the use of facial recognition technology.

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