Expansion of the Trial
The expanded trial, scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2024, will include around 4,500 machines across 28 clubs and hotels in 24 metropolitan and regional local government areas. This represents a substantial increase from the initial proposal, demonstrating the government’s commitment to addressing gambling harm and money laundering associated with electronic gambling machines.
Key Venues & Statistics
Notably, the trial will include some of the state’s top-earning venues for gambling machine profit. Among them are the Cabra-Vale Ex-Active Servicemen’s Club, Dooleys Lidcombe Catholic Club, and West HQ (formerly the Rooty Hill RSL Club). These clubs are significant contributors to the state’s pokie machine profits, with the Mounties in Mount Prichard being the top earner.
Objectives & Scope
The primary objectives of the trial are to reduce gambling harm and combat money laundering activities associated with pokie machines. The NSW Government’s Independent Panel on Gaming Reform, established in July, oversees the trial. It consists of representatives from various sectors, including industry bodies, harm minimisation groups, academia, law enforcement, unions, and individuals with lived experience of gambling harm.
Technology & Requirements
Venues that wish to engage in the trial must meet minimum requirements, including harm minimisation, anti-money laundering, privacy protection, and data security. 5 top software providers have been conditionally approved to take part in the trial, subject to meeting essential cybersecurity requirements.
The five Australian software providers renowned mostly for their online casino games selected to join in the expanded cashless gaming trial in New South Wales (NSW) include Aristocrat Leisure Ltd, Light & Wonder Inc (formerly known as Scientific Games), International Game Technology Plc (IGT), and eBet.
These companies are members of the Australia-based Gaming Technologies Association (GTA). They have been given conditional approval to get involved in the trial, and are expected to ensure that their technologies meet the trial’s standards for harm minimisation, anti-money laundering, privacy protection, and data security.
Impact on the Community & Industry–Perceptions & Analysis
Apart from providing valuable insights into the use of cashless gambling technology, reducing gambling harm and money laundering will also assess the impact on employees in these clubs and hotels, structural requirements, and costs. This is particularly significant as no jurisdiction in Australia has yet implemented a statewide cashless gambling system.
Industry Support & Government Commitment
The strong interest from clubs and hotels in taking part in the trial highlights the industry’s commitment to working with the government on these reforms. Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris emphasised that the trial’s expansion reflects the seriousness with which clubs and hotels are approaching the issue of gambling harm and money laundering.
Future Prospects & Reforms—Reporting & Policy Development
The Independent Panel on Gaming Reform is scheduled to provide a comprehensive report to the NSW Government by November 2024, which will include data and knowledge gained from the cashless gambling trial. This report is expected to play a crucial role in shaping future cashless gaming policy in the state.
In line with these reforms, NSW has already implemented several legislative changes, such as reducing cash input limits on new pokie machines, banning political donations from clubs connected with gambling, and removing VIP gambling signage across the state.
NSW Charting New Horizons in Responsible Gaming
The expanded cashless gambling trial in NSW represents a major initiative in the state’s efforts to reform its gambling industry. By encompassing a broad range of venues and implementing stringent requirements, the trial aims to gather comprehensive data and insights to inform future policy decisions. This initiative demonstrates a significant commitment by both the government and the gambling industry to address the challenges that come with it.