NSW PM plans to make all gaming machines cashless within five years
Premier Dominic Perrottet has confirmed the legislation will be introduced if the coalition government is re-elected in March.
Australia.- Premier Dominic Perrottet has announced today (February 6) that all gambling machines in New South Wales will become cashless by 2028 if the coalition government is re-elected in March. The government’s gambling reform plan would also ban political donations from pubs and clubs.
Perrottet said the policy would allow players to set their own limits on poker machines, which will be locked for seven days.
The PM stated: “We’ve had people throw their life savings down poker machines and that has to change. For generations to come, we will not have money laundering and we will not have a family breakdown due to problem gambling in this state.”
According to the government, the $344m plan is in response to a report by the New South Wales Crime Commission (NSWCC), which found that poker machines across the state were being used to launder “dirty cash.”
The policy includes breaks for players and a state-wide exclusion register. Relatives would be able to apply to bar problem gamblers. The government will provide interest-free loans to small and medium-sized venues to help them adopt cashless technology and a one-time $50,000 “diversification” grant for bars and clubs to invest in new revenue streams such as live music.
Regional venues can also receive $40m in grants to help with the transition. Meanwhile, there will be an “optional buy-back” to buy 2,000 machines from venues over the next five years.
Perrottet acknowledged it would be a “difficult transition” for the industry but said: “I’ll work to ensure no one is left behind, that no jobs are lost.”
ClubsNSW expressed worries about the government’s plan and its impact on the industry. It has concerns about the costs and technical difficulties faced by small, regional clubs and potential job losses. However. opposition Leader Chris Minns praised the announcement, noting the desire across the political spectrum for action against problem gambling.
Minns said the Labor Party already announced some elements of the government’s policy, including third-party exclusions for family members, a ban on advertising outside pubs and clubs, and a ban on political donations from clubs. He also confirmed that Labor would support the policy of buying back 2,000 machines.
Tim Costello, head of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, welcomed the changes and said: “It isn’t perfect, but it is pretty damn good.”
See also: ClubsNSW CEO fired for accusing state PM of following “Catholic gut”