The NSW Labor government has announced the panel members for the NSW cashless gaming trials promised during the election campaign. Debate has already started around the names included on the panel. Further, the cashless trial is now part of a more general gambling review that will include a advice on the ClubGRANTS scheme, the use of facial recognition, self-exclusion and technical and system standards.
- Cashless gaming trial – panel appointments
Before the March state election, Labor promised that a panel would begin planning the expanded cashless gaming trial on 500 poker machines in clubs and pubs before 1 July. But last month, the government conceded there had been a delay.
The panel is expected to design and begin the 12-month trial within a few months, before handing findings and recommendations to the government late next year.
It has also been asked to provide advice to the government on the use of facial recognition technology, the self-exclusion register and technical and system standards.
The new panel with include three independent executive committee members, including Foggo, former Labor senator Ursula Stephens and the former deputy leader of the NSW Nationals Niall Blair.
The panel will also include four gaming industry representatives, four harm minimisation experts, two academics, one cybersecurity expert, someone from NSW Police and another from the United Workers Union that represents casino workers.
Minns said the new panel has been given a November 2024 reporting deadline for the trial, and needed to provide an “evidence-based roadmap” for future gambling reforms.
“We know the harmful effects of problem gaming on families, and I want to make sure we stamp out criminal activity in clubs,” he said.
- ClubGRANTS Scheme
The so-called ClubGRANTS scheme has handed out more than $1 billion to community groups in NSW since it was established in the late 1990s, but it’s also been the subject of sharp criticism because of concerns over a lack of regulation.
Those concerns came into focus when the NSW Council of Social Service, or NCOSS, announced that it wanted to end its involvement with the scheme after it conducted a review which found the grants were “seriously flawed, rife with opportunities for conflicts of interest, and had no real enforcement of the rules”.
The scheme allows clubs to receive a tax rebate off profits from poker machines by donating money to causes that make a contribution to the “welfare and broader social fabric”. But rules governing the scheme mean clubs can donate some of that money to organisations which it owns or has links to.
- Panel to provide further recommendations to government
Further details on the wide-ranging panel review are available on the Liquor & Gaming NSW website >>> NSW Government announces independent panel to oversee gaming reform roadmap – Liquor & Gaming NSW