Discussions on the introduction of a cashless card system for poker machines in NSW has become the hot topic of the NSW election in March. So far there has been lots of emotional media discussion and little substance on how it would work, when it would be implemented and whether it would really be effective in stopping problem gambling.
Despite the obvious benefit of having clubs and pubs directly involved in personal interactions with problem gamblers so that they can be prodded towards seeking help, these new reforms that are being discussed, with little involvement from industry, also threaten to close many clubs and hotels down completely if introduced. Closures and reductions across clubs and hotels remove the benefits that they provide their local communities, increase job losses, destroy the entertainment industry and food & beverage suppliers, send problem gamblers online … uuugh, I could go on and on!
Then there’s the whole issue of a significant reduction in tax income for the state, which I’m sure they will find elsewhere through the introduction of new and increased state taxes – death taxes anyone?
Here is a round up of the latest news articles with info on the current discussions:
1. Details revealed of plan to force Aussies to use special gambling cards on poker machines – with cash BANNED from pokies.
Cashless gaming cards with a daily spending limit would be introduced in NSW if Liberal Premier Dominic Perrottet is re-elected in March.
The premier is determined to remove cash from poker machines as part of gambling reforms in the state – with an amount of between $1,000 and $1,500 a day reportedly being considered as the upper limit.
2. NSW Labor pledges to cut pokies as gambling reform debate ignites.
NSW Labor is vowing to cut the number of poker machines and impose a mandatory cashless gaming trial in a move to counter the Perrottet government’s proposed reforms, as the future of gambling in pubs and clubs becomes a key election issue.
Opposition Leader Chris Minns on Monday announced a Labor government would introduce a mandatory cashless gaming trial for at least 500 poker machines if it won the March election, but key crossbench MPs and gambling reform advocates said the new policy was too weak.
3. Unions NSW splits from Labor on cashless gaming to stop ‘scourge on society’
The top union leader in NSW has clashed with Labor over major gambling reform and urged the party to back the Coalition government’s proposal for a cashless gaming card.
Unions NSW secretary Mark Morey is backing the government’s plan, which would stop gamers from using cash at any of the 90,000 pokie machines across the state and force them to upload money onto a gaming card.
4.The two independents refusing to back Perrottet’s pokies reform
The only two independents in the NSW Parliament refusing to back Premier Dominic Perrottet’s crackdown on the gambling industry claim he is moving too fast and threatening jobs in regional communities.
Member for Orange Phil Donato and Barwon MP Roy Butler on Monday criticised plans turn the state’s 90,000-plus gaming machines cashless, as the premier declined to guarantee a full rollout would be complete by the end of the next term should he win the March 25 election.
5. Banks ready to implement cashless gaming solution as brawl over cards heats up
Powerful banking executive Anna Bligh says the industry is ready to implement a cashless gaming solution, with hundreds of thousands of Australians already seeking self-exclusion tools on personal cards with the big four banks.
Bligh, the head of the industry’s lobby group, said if the initiative was legislated banks would assist in its rollout, adding they were deeply aware of the harm caused by problem gambling.
6. Regional exemptions on the cards for NSW government’s cashless gaming scheme
The Perrottet government is likely to include carveouts for regional pubs and clubs in New South Wales in the rollout of its cashless gaming card policy and is considering a ban on political donations from the clubs sector.
As Dominic Perrottet lobbies to win support from the Nationals as part of his push for gambling reform in NSW, the government is considering a transition period that excludes non-metropolitan areas from the cashless gaming card.