Cashless pokies to be trialled to combat gambling ‘sins’

Jul 18, 2022
NSW set to trail cashless pokies. Source: Getty

Cashless pokies will be trialled in New South Wales in a bid to protect gamblers with addictions and stop criminal activity within the industry.

The trial, beginning in September, will give gamblers the ability to set money and time limits and access to information and live-chat customer support through the use of a mobile phone.

The test of cashless gambling will be led by Aristocrat Gaming and Wests Newcastle and will see the use of digital wallets for all club services including electronic gaming machines.

CEO of Aristocrat Gaming and Chief Transformation Officer Mitchell Bowen said the trial has “the potential to help reduce problem gambling without unduly impacting choice and amenity”.

“Our solution also offers additional gameplay tools, developed in consultation with industry, to help further empower patrons to manage their play,” Bowen said in a statement.

“Aristocrat believes that enabling cashless payment solutions is an innovation that may help enhance the long-term sustainability and vibrancy of our industry. We look forward to learning from the results of the trial.”

CEO of Wests Newcastle Phil Gardner said their commitment is to players who are “the core of our operation”.

“This trial builds on our long-standing commitment to their welfare,” Gardner said.

“A powerful new suite of responsible digital tools will empower our members and allow them to set limits, speak to a staff member, or even exclude themselves from the club.

“The ability for our members to use their own mobile wallet to pay for a meal, membership and gaming is something our industry hasn’t seen before.”

Whilst the gambling industry is linked to addiction problems, the slots are also littered with criminal activity as an ongoing inquiry by the NSW Crime Commission found that money laundering is high within gaming venues.

The inquiry is calling for a lower cap on machine credit limits, with findings that NSW limits of $5000 to $10,000, are much higher than other states like Victoria which are capped at $1000.

The Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello is onboard with the cashless trial, saying he hopes it will solve “twin sins” within the gambling industry.

“I support this digital proposal as it is linked to identity, a bank account and with harm minimisation settings. This will help us combat the twin sins of money laundering and problem gambling, addressing the key concerns of the Bergin Inquiry,” Dominello said.

The trial requires gamers to provide Proof of Identity equal to 100 points and link their digital wallet to an Australian bank account.

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