NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet says he will not sign any pre-election Memorandum of Understanding with ClubsNSW until there is agreement on recommendations from the NSW Crime Commission. If he doesn’t sign, he will be the first NSW premier not to do so since 2011. The most recent MoU was with then-premier Gladys Berejiklian, signed at the ClubsNSW AGM in 2018.
That MoU, which included agreements on Responsible Gambling and Gaming Policy, bound the parties until the end of the term of the NSW Government to be elected in 2019. The next NSW State election is scheduled for Saturday, 25 March 2023.
“We need to move to a cashless gaming system,” Perrottet said this week. His decision follows the NSW Crime Commission Islington Report report into pubs and clubs which called for cashless gaming cards to be mandatory in all venues in a bid to combat money laundering.
“I’m not signing anything … I’m not even considering signing a [memorandum of understanding] until the matters in relation to the Crime Commission report have been addressed,” Perrottet said at a press conference. “I’ve made it very clear we need to move to a cashless gaming system.”
“This is not about working against the industry. It’s all working together to make meaningful change to stop money laundering occurring in pokie machines, and ensuring that problem gamblers are not throwing their life savings down a pokie machine,” he said.
“That has to stop. That has to change. And I will deliver on it … I’ve made it very clear I want to work with industry to achieve that change, and I look forward to constructive discussions this week.”
NSW Labor leader Chris Minns has said that he was “not inclined” to sign MoUs. ClubsNSW has been contacted for comment.
Meanwhile, profits from gaming machines at clubs and pubs in NSW hit a record $3.8 billion in the first half of 2022, according to the latest figures. While the number of EGMs in clubs and pubs across NSW has fallen by 6 per cent since 2017, revenue per machine is on the rise.
Liquor & Gaming NSW data also reveals that for clubs, the average profit generated by each EGM rose from $28,063 in the first half of 2018 to $34,311 in the first half of 2022. For hotels the average profit per EGM rose from $51,604 to $72,766 over the same period.