In representing their member clubs, ClubsNSW have been investigating a digital wallet for poker machines and a trial of its use within venues. Many manufacturers already have this facility available within their gaming systems and approved in other jurisdictions around the world but regulations in Australian states have fallen behind other gaming countries despite Australians generally fast take up of technologies.
The scathing Bergin inquiry report into Crown Resorts found the casino giant “facilitated money laundering”, prompting the chair of the NSW gaming authority to say money laundering is also an issue plaguing clubs and pubs.
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello, who has responsibility for gaming, faced budget estimates on Monday where he is likely to be pressed on the government’s gaming reforms in the wake of the Bergin report.
The Bergin report into Crown Resorts said a proposed NSW government-issued gambling card would be a powerful tool to combat money laundering and organised crime.
Mr Dominello wants to introduce the card in a bid to take organised crime out of pubs and clubs and help problem gamblers.
However, the plan is causing a bitter division within the government, with Deputy Premier John Barilaro insisting that the Nationals would never support it.
Last month Mr Barilaro tweeted: “It’s a knee-jerk reaction to suggest more red tape for hospo [hospitality] sector by way of a gambling card, when it’s recovering from one of its toughest years. The Nationals will never support this.”
The clubs’ industry also strongly opposes the card, but is investigating a digital wallet, which would not be compulsory and would be operated by each venue. Hotels also oppose a gambling card.
ClubsNSW has submitted its proposal for a digital wallet trial to the government’s gaming machine technology working group.
Under its proposal, there could be personal spend limits, daily or weekly transaction limits and large payouts would be “quarantined”.
A spokesman for ClubsNSW said: “ClubsNSW does not support a system where public servants oversee people’s gambling activities, nor do we support a mandatory card-based approach to cashless gambling.
“There are a range of alternatives involving a gradual introduction of venue-based digital payments worth considering, as set out in our proposal,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman said ClubsNSW was not opposed to giving players and venues the choice to accept digital payments alongside cash.
“However, we see no reason why small bowling and golf clubs should be forced to adopt expensive technology that they cannot afford — nor do we see any reason why a person wanting to put $5 into a poker machine after bingo should be forced into registering for a government-issued card.”
Information sourced from an article appearing in the SMH: www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/clubs-propose-digital-wallet-for-pokies-as-suspicious-player-activity-unveiled-20210307-p578ic.html