The gambling industry increases investment in Labor’s cashless gaming trial

The gambling industry increases investment in Labor’s cashless gaming trial
The gambling industry increases investment in Labor’s cashless gaming trial

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Cashless Gaming: The Future of the Industry

November 11, 2023 — 5.00am

The Rise of Cashless Gaming

Hotels and clubs are eagerly joining the Minns government’s trial of cashless gaming, signaling a shift in the industry. It seems that many establishments recognize that the era of hard cash games is coming to an end. Alternatively, it could be that the alarming addiction to poker machines in our state has become so untenable that patrons pressured their local venues to adopt cashless gaming.

A Surprising Turnaround

Initially, Premier Chris Minns’s 12-month trial on 500 machines seemed like a mere gesture to gather evidence on the effectiveness of cashless gaming. However, the trial has been overwhelmed by the industry’s willingness to offer the use of 5909 machines. This unexpected response highlights a significant change in perspective.

Last January, after facing criticism from various groups, including the Herald, gambling reform advocates, grassroots party members, and the union movement, NSW Labor announced a package of reforms. While commendable elements were present, such as banning donations from venues with poker machines and phasing out some machines, there were also concerning flaws. Notably, Labor failed to address the proposal to switch all machines to cashless technology, despite a damning report from the NSW Crime Commission.

The Importance of Cashless Technology

The proposal to implement cashless technology in poker machines is a crucial aspect of gambling reform. It aims to curb criminal activities involving dirty money and has faced strong opposition from ClubsNSW and the NSW branch of the Australian Hotels Association. Despite criticism, Labor committed to a trial of cashless gaming in 500 machines across NSW. However, this move was deemed inadequate by crossbench MPs and gambling reform advocates.

Following the election, an independent panel was established to oversee the trial, including industry representatives and organizations such as ClubsNSW, the AHA, the Gaming Technologies Association, and Wesley Mission. While industry involvement is necessary for a successful rollout, it is essential for the government and reform advocates to remain vigilant. Some forces still oppose cashless technology and seek to prevent any meaningful change.

The Need for Reform

Gambling reform advocate Reverend Tim Costello attributed Premier Chris Minns’s failure to form a majority government to his evasion on the issue of poker machines. The time for reforming the industry may not be as opportune now, as recent polls show declining support for NSW Labor and a decrease in Minns’s popularity. However, the flood of venues willing to participate in the cashless gaming trial indicates a growing recognition of the need to address problem gambling.


The rise of cashless gaming presents a unique opportunity for our state to tackle the insidious problem of problem gambling. The overwhelming response from venues willing to participate in the trial demonstrates that the initial proposal of 500 machines was insufficient. As we move forward, it is crucial to prioritize the implementation of cashless technology and continue working towards comprehensive gambling reform.

About the Author

“Cashless Gaming: The Future of the Industry” is an article written by Bevan Shields, an expert in the field of gambling reform. With a passion for addressing problem gambling, Shields provides valuable insights into the current state of the industry and the need for cashless gaming solutions.

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