Unions NSW supports cashless gaming cards

Prime minister Dominic Perrottet backs a proposal to introduce cashless gaming cards.
Prime minister Dominic Perrottet backs a proposal to introduce cashless gaming cards.

Unions NSW says cashless cards would help control problem gambling.

Australia.- The peak body for unions in New South Wales is backing the introduction of cashless gaming cards in the state. Unions NSW head Mark Morey said cashless cards would help alleviate problem gambling.

He told AAP: “What I want to see is one more hurdle put in the way, so that people think about what they do when they put more money into the pokie machine so they’re not churning through a whole week of wages,” Morey told AAP.

He added: “This is not prohibition. This is a harm minimisation strategy. It’s about trying to give people time to think again before they put in more money.”

The head of Unions NSW said the business model of the gaming industry relied on people being addicted and mandating a cashless card would “at least put another hurdle in the way of stopping people becoming addicted”.

He said: “$95bn goes through the pokie machines every year. Why would they (the gambling industry) want it to change? They’re making profits off people suffering,” he said and added: “What we’re seeing is certainly the poorest postcodes is where the highest incidence of gambling is occurring. That wealth is transferring from those working communities to a few people that live on (Sydney’s) north shore or eastern suburbs.”

NSW prime minister Dominic Perrottet has said he is determined to ensure that pokie rules are reformed. However, Josh Landis, ClubsNSW chief executive officer, has said that cashless gambling cards won’t solve the problem of money laundering as claimed by the New South Wales Crime Commission (NSWCC).

Labor leader Chris Minns supports an expanded trial of a cashless gaming card but says there is evidence suggesting the cards could create harm. Minns has repeatedly cited a 2020 Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation report that showed cashless gaming cards could induce problem gambling.

See also: NSW government defends proposed poker machine and table game tax increase

Survey finds 63% in favour of cashless gaming cards for NSW

A Resolve Strategic survey for The Sydney Morning Herald has found the state’s voters to be in favour of the proposal. Some 63 per cent of respondents backed a cashless gaming card for poker machines and only 16 per cent were opposed to any change.

The survey also showed that only 28 per cent believes pubs and clubs are doing enough to deal with problem gambling, while 47 per cent described their efforts as poor. Some 32 per cent think the cashless card should be rolled out immediately, while 24 per cent support a voluntary trial and 19 per cent backed mandatory testing in some areas.

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