Cashless Gaming Card Receives Opposition From Within

man holding a credit card making a payment on a computer

The introduction of a cashless gaming card in New South Wales has caused controversy in the NSW government, with the Deputy Premier breaking rank and failing to support the proposal.

The ABC reports that NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro doesn’t support the idea of a cashless gambling card.

A report commissioned by the state’s Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority recommended the cards, which could help combat problem gambling and money laundering.

The report was the result of an 18-month inquiry into gambling giant Crown Resorts, which had been hoping to open its new casino in Sydney, which has already been built at Barangaroo.

However, those plans are on ice after Commissioner Patricia Bergin found the company was unsuitable in its current form to hold the licence.

NSW Customer Services Minister Victor Dominello said the government would consider the report’s recommendations.

But Mr Barilaro said he would not support the cards, and that it was “not the time to strangle pubs and clubs with red tape.”

The last time Mr Barilaro publicly clashed with his Liberal colleagues was over koala protection policies which briefly brought the NSW government to the brink last year.

In September, he threatened to blow up the Coalition and take the Nationals to the cross-bench amid disagreements over the policies.

“How that plays out, I respect the Cabinet process, we need to consider the findings of Commissioner Bergin,” Mr Dominello said.

“We are doing our best to help pubs and clubs because they do a magnificent job in the community but there is that seedy underbelly of cash, poker machines and gaming that Commissioner Bergin has pointed out that needs to be addressed because we cannot turn a blind eye to organised crime.

Reforms Can Help Gamblers and Clubs, Premier said.

gambling addiction

In 2020, Mr Dominello proposed reforms that would require punters to register for cashless gaming cards in order to use pokies.

The blueprint is designed to help address problem gambling in NSW.

Mr Dominello said the government would look at the report’s recommendations in detail, including one of his own proposals made last year, for a government-issued gambling card for all poker machine players.

In her report, Ms Bergin said Mr Dominello’s proposal would also help address another issue – money laundering by organised criminals.

“The proposal has been the subject of some public debate and is not free from controversy,” she wrote.

“However, it appears that the very significant utility of the card to assist the problem gambler could not be in issue. It’s also obvious that it would be a powerful mechanism to assist in combating money laundering.”

Mr Dominello said money laundering is the life blood for organised crime and that cash is the common denominator.

“If you have got an industry-based, industry-owned, industry-issued gaming card with appropriate regulatory oversight then in Commissioner Bergin’s words, it will have a significant impact in combating money laundering,” Mr Dominello said.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there was room for both a hard line on money laundering and supporting pubs and clubs.

“What the report has highlighted is that unfortunately there could be issues in the broader community about money laundering and we need to get on top of that and of course, we need to support all of the businesses in the process, I think you can do both,” she said.

Rose Varrelli avatar
Rose Varrelli
Senior Casino & News Writer

Hi there! I’m Rose, and with nine years behind me in the iGaming industry, I craft engaging narratives at CasinoAus. My education in Communication across Europe has sharpened my skills in fintech, casino legislation, and digital marketing. Backed by a strong foundation in SEO, storytelling, and cross-cultural communication, I’m passionate about creating content that resonates globally and educates our audience.

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