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NSW government expands cashless gambling trial

| By Robert Fletcher
The New South Wales (NSW) government has agreed to expand a cashless gaming trial as part of ongoing gambling reform in the Australian state.
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The expanded cashless trial will commence in NSW in Q1 of 2024. It will cover approximately 4,500 machines across 28 clubs and hotels in 24 metropolitan and regional local government areas.

This expansion was recommended by an independent panel, established in July to oversee gambling reform in NSW. Cashless gaming trials have already taken place on more than 250 machines at Wests Newcastle and Club York.

To take part in the trial, minimum requirements include harm minimisation protections, anti-money laundering protections, data security and privacy protections. The government said five technology providers have already been given conditional approval to participate in the extended trial.

Cashless data will support reform proposals

The independent panel will oversee the trial and evaluate all data collected. This will be used to help construct its reform report, due to be sent to the government by November 2024.

“This trial is bigger, broader and delivers nine times more machines than we committed to during the election campaign,” NSW minister for gaming and racing, David Harris, said. “The independent panel has lit the next step in our reform agenda. 

“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.”

Wider gambling reform in NSW

Cashless gaming is just part of the ongoing gambling reform process in the state. The NSW government has already implemented several reforms to reduce gambling harm and prevent money laundering.

These include reducing cash input limit from AU$5,000 (£2,628/€3,052/US$2,355) to $500 for all new poker machines. This is due to come into effect from 1 July next year.

A state-wide cap on gaming machine entitlements has also been cut by more than 3,000. In addition, a ban has been put in place on political donations from clubs involved in gaming.

Other changes include removing VIP gaming signage across NSW. The government also committed to investing $100.0m into gambling harm minimisation over the next four years.

Meanwhile, the NSW government last month also confirmed tax increases for land-based casinos. The government reached an agreement in principle over a shorter increase in rates in the summer. These rates have now been confirmed and are deemed effective from 1 July this year.

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