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Australia – NSW Government set to deliver bigger and broader cashless gaming trial

By - 18 December 2023

The NSW Government’s Independent Panel on Gaming Reform has agreed on a bigger and broader cashless gaming trial as the Government continues its gambling reforms.

This expanded trial will include around 4,500 machines across 28 clubs and hotels across 24 metropolitan and regional local government areas. The Independent Panel has endorsed a broad range of venues of various sizes for the trial, ensuring information can be collected and recommendations developed for the NSW Government. To participate in the trial, minimum requirements included harm minimisation protections, anti-money laundering protections, data security and privacy protections.

Five technology providers have been given conditional approval to participate in the extended trial, subject to essential cybersecurity requirements. These new machines are in addition to more than 250 machines that have already completed trials at Wests Newcastle and Club York, providing important early insights to the Independent Panel on Gaming Reform.

Minister for Gaming and Racing David Harris said:“This trial is bigger, broader and delivers nine times more machines than we committed to during the election campaign. The Independent Panel has lit the next step in our reform agenda. I want to thank Mr Foggo and the Panel for their ongoing work coming together to build consensus.

“The strong interest in participating in the cashless gaming trial proves just how serious clubs and hotels are about working with the Government to reduce gambling harm and money laundering associated with electronic gaming machines.

“The industry is clearly behind us as we undergo these landmark gaming reforms as part of our commitment to addressing money laundering and gambling harm in NSW.”

Panel Chair Michael Foggo added: “The independent panel – which comprises key industry, law enforcement, community, and harm minimisation representatives – has been buoyed by the large number of applications it received for the trial.

“This demonstrates the depth of genuine support this trial has in the industry and its commitment to addressing gambling harm and money laundering. We look forward to working with the trial participants in the coming months and monitoring and gaining insights from this important project.”

Beginning in the first quarter of 2024, the new venues will provide insights into the use of cashless gaming technology in hotels and clubs, particularly on reducing gambling harm and money laundering, and impacts on club and hotel employees as well as infrastructure requirements and costs.

The information gathered will give valuable insight considering no jurisdiction in Australia has implemented a statewide cashless gaming system.

The cashless gaming trial is being overseen by the Independent Panel on Gaming Reform, which was established by the NSW Government in July.

The Panel brings together representatives from industry (e.g. ClubsNSW), harm minimisation groups (e.g. Wesley Mission), academia, law enforcement, unions and a person with lived experience to find consensus on a pathway for gambling reform in NSW.

The Independent Panel is scheduled to provide a gaming reform report to the NSW Government by November 2024, which will include information from the cashless gaming trial.

The Minns Government has already implemented a number of reforms to reduce gambling harm and prevent money laundering: It has reduced the cash input limit from $5,000 to $500 for all new poker machines from 1 July and reduced the statewide cap on gaming machine entitlements by more than 3,000. It has banned political donations from clubs involved in gaming. It has removed VIP gaming signage across NSW. It has invested $100m into gambling harm minimisation over the next four years.

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