The New South Wales (NSW) government is to expand its cashless gambling trial to include nearly 4500 poker machines across 24 local government areas.
As reported by the Guardian, the scheme will be rolled out early in the New Year, following the gambling reform plans that were set out in the state election back in March. The government in Australia’s most populous state had already confirmed that Michael Foggo, a former liquor, gaming and racing commissioner, would lead a panel of 16 industry experts and advocates who will report back to the administration in November 2024.
Foggo intimated that a “large number” of gambling venues are in step with the proposals. He added, “This demonstrates the depth of genuine support this trial has in the industry and its commitment to addressing gambling harm and money laundering,” he said.
Five hundred machines were initially set to be used as part of the gaming trial. Still, this update represents a significant increase in the data that will be available to be scrutinized.
What is cashless gaming?
Cashless gaming (or gambling) is the purpose of gambling without using cash or coins.
There are pros and cons to the system which has already been utilized in other parts of Australia and elsewhere. The neighbouring state of Victoria has permitted two types of cashless gaming since 2019, card-based cashless gambling (CBC) and Ticket-In Ticket-Out (TITO).
CBC is the use of a card, linked to an account or a digital wallet to transfer credits to and from a gaming machine while TITO means receiving a ticket as a payout instead of cash.
There are also ways of connecting to a poker machine via an app using Bluetooth technology.
With the debate – and the systems mentioned above – there is more or less human contact and dialogue around gambling transactions which is being considered as part of working to reduce gambling-related harm.
New South Wales residents are said to have lost $4.3bn on poker machines in six months last year, representing $820m more than the total losses recorded before the pandemic, in a similar timeframe.
During the same time last year, more than 220 new gaming machines were put in place across the state, taking the total number of machines to 86,872.
NSW’s gambling minister, David Harris, said the trial was “bigger, broader and delivers nine times more machines” than the initial proposal.
“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,” he said.