Cashless Gaming Trials In NSW Expand to 4,500 Pokies

Cashless gambling trials in NSW are slated to resume in early 2024. When originally announced, the trials were only to consist of 500 pokies across the region.

However, the Independent Panel on Gaming Reform has announced an expansion of those trials. Now, approximately 4,500 pokies will go cashless across the region, representing a 9x increase. This trial expansion will help the panel conduct proper program analysis.

NSW Cashless Gaming Trials Expand to 4,500 Pokies

On Friday, the office of the Minister for Gaming and Racing released a press release announcing an expansion of NSW’s cashless gaming trial. CasinoAus notes that the expanded trial will now include 4,500 poker machines across 28 hotels and clubs. This will encompass 24 local and metropolitan government areas.

Initially, the trial was to include 250 pokies. This expansion will represent a 9x increase in the number of pokies. The original trials were conducted by Club York and Wests Newcastle, providing what the Independent Panel on Gaming calls “important early insights” into cashless gaming.

Expansion Driven By Clubs – Not Government

Rows of slot machines One would expect that this expansion to the program was the result of direct government intervention. Instead, the change appears to be driven by the number of clubs, pubs, and hotels that applied to the program.

According to David Harris, Minister for Racing and Gaming, “The strong interest in participating in the cashless gaming trial proves just how serious clubs and hotels are about working with the government to reduce gambling harm and money laundering associated with electronic gaming machines.

“The industry is clearly behind us as we undergo these landmark gaming reforms as part of our commitment to addressing money laundering and gambling harm in NSW.”

The expansion exceeds the desires of panel lead Michael Foggo. When Foggo initially took the reins of the panel, he suggested expanding the trial from 500 to 3,000 machines to allow for proper data research. The new number is a 30% increase over what he was seeking.

Trial Among the Latest in Gaming Reforms Implemented by Minns Government

The cashless trials in NSW are just the latest in a line of reforms undertaken by the Minns Government. Below are some of the reforms that are already in place:

  • Cash input limits for pokies are reduced to $500 starting 1 July 2023.
  • Lowering state-wide gaming machine entitlements cap by over 3,000
  • Prohibiting any club involved in gaming from making political contributions
  • Banning VIP gaming ads and signage throughout NSW
  • Committing $100m to gaming harm minimisation over the next four years

The upcoming cashless gaming trails will run through most of the year. The panel is scheduled to provide a gaming reform report to the NSW Government by November 2024, in which data from the trial will be included.

Harris commented on the expanded trial in the presser, stating, “This trial is bigger, broader and delivers 9 times more machines than we committed to during the election campaign. The independent panel has lit the next step in our reform agenda. I want to thank Mr Foggo and the panel for their ongoing work coming together to build consensus.”

What to Expect From Cashless Gaming

For those unfamiliar with cashless gaming, it will be a shift from the norm. Instead of loading cash or cash tickets into a gaming machine, you will load a prepaid card. At the start of any gambling session, you will be required to commit to how much you’re willing to spend, and that amount will be loaded onto a card.

After the card is loaded, you will use that for playing pokies. For those familiar with arcade-style gaming, this is similar to the cards that youth use to play arcade games.

One downside to this system is that it eliminates anonymous gaming. You will be unable to hide your identity or how much you spend when gambling in live casinos. Some have expressed concerns over privacy in the past, but the trials have pushed forward.

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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