Cashless Gaming Card in NSW Hits Snag, New Solution Offered

New South Wales is still intent on making sure that gambling in the state is safer for consumers. Yet, an idea to introduce a cashless gaming card may have been put on the backburner as the government is looking into alternatives. One is the use of opt-in digital payments.

Cashless Gaming Still Can’t Get Traction in NSW

This solution seems to appeal to those who think a cashless gaming card would be too intrusive, but it rubs those who want to see gambling harm and criminal activities associated with gambling reduced to a minimum the wrong way. Not introducing the gaming card would most likely enable criminals to continue using gambling venues to launder money, opponents of the so-called alternative claim.

That puts New South Wales in a difficult position where it has to decide. Customer Service and Digital Minister Victor Dominello’s original proposition dating back to 2020 makes a lot of sense. Customers would all be allowed to have a smart card that is issued in their name and loaded with funds.

His proposal coincided with a strong push for cashless gambling which saw venues in the state begin adopting such solutions and the idea of a cashless gaming card came into the limelight once again during the Crown Resorts investigation which showed severe shortages in addressing and enforcing anti-money laundering practices in favor of allowing VIP customers to continue paying.

Now, though, Dominello is no longer part of the push as he stepped down from his post and was replaced by Hospitality and Racing Minister Kevin Anderson. Those against the proposed cashless gaming card seemed to prefer Anderson’s appointment and were relieved to see Dominello, a firebrand by all traditionalist gambling lobbyists’ standards, go.

Anderson, unlike his predecessor, is actually opposed to the idea of the government issuing a cashless gaming card under its control. He thinks such an idea is not really going to benefit anyone, nor should such a solution ever be mandatory. Rather, people could have a digital card that is based on personal choice only. This way, Anderson believes, people who think they are at risk of excessive gambling, for example, would be able to self-exclude quickly.

Voluntary Probably Won’t Work for Criminals

Whether this idea sticks with the rest of the government is another matter. An ongoing NSW Crime Commission inquiry is trying to gauge the impact of organized crime on the gambling industry as there is mounting evidence that syndicates are using poker machines in New South Wales to launder dirty proceeds.

Many stakeholders from the industry, including hotels, clubs, and poker machine venues have lashed out against the government and cautioned officials not to take any potentially-disruptive moves that would cost the industry a lot. However, one independent MP, Justin Field, has ridiculed the idea of introducing a voluntary opt-in feature.

No criminal would ever go for that. Anderson seems to be focusing on the argument in favor of problem gamblers whereas the cashless gaming card proposed by Dominello was supposed to help consumers as well as limit the scope of crimes.

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