NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has secured cabinet support to make poker machines cashless within five years, according to a new report. But ClubsNSW is concerned about the significant costs and technical challenges associated with the Coalition’s proposal to implement a mandatory cashless gaming system.
“We’re particularly concerned about the implications for small, regional clubs and the impact this will have on jobs across the industry,” ClubsNSW said in a statement today in response to The Sydney Morning Herald report. The long-awaited details of the Perrottet reforms are expected to be released today but, according to the news report, it will include financial support for clubs to introduce the new technology, as well as a specific regional transition fund which will include club representatives.
The report said there will also be no-interest loans for small and medium venues to replace old EGMs with new cashless technology equipment with one-off $50,000 grants to clubs to help fund new income streams which include live music and F&B to reduce their reliance on gaming revenue.
An independent implementation team will be appointed to devise technology to remove cash from all machines, starting in 2024 with a deadline of December 2028.
Small or struggling venues will be assessed and potentially given an extension should they not be able to meet the deadline. There is also a proposed NSW Government to buy back 2000 EGMs from clubs over that five years.
Department of NSW Premier and Cabinet secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter is tipped to head the team and will also include Treasury officials, the NSW Privacy Commissioner, harm minimisation experts, pubs and clubs representatives and NSW Police.
According to the SMH report, the proposal was presented to a specially convened cabinet meeting on Sunday night. The NSW Premier had earlier promised to release a detailed plan ahead of next month’s state election.
There will be self-imposed spending limits, which can be altered once a week, but the new implementation team will consider further daily limits. It is reported that no personal data will be collected or retained by the government or pubs and clubs.
Legislation introducing the measures will be tabled in the first sitting of the NSW parliament should Perrottet win the March 25 election.
“ClubsNSW is committed to working with whomever wins the March election to combat problem gambling and keep criminals out of gaming venues,” the ClubsNSW statement said.
Gaming is a hot-button election issue with the ClubsNSW board removing CEO Josh Landis last week after he made comments connecting the Premier’s religious beliefs with his proposed gaming reforms.