Public commitment to introduce a cashless gambling card in NSW has been met with significant support from gambling reform advocates, including Wesley Mission CEO Rev Stu Cameron, who praised the Premier for his leadership.
“The Premier’s announcement this afternoon to support a cashless gambling card is very welcome. He has often said that the harm caused by poker machines in NSW is something he finds unacceptable, and he has now publicly committed his government to genuinely act on that conviction. We also continue to be grateful for the leadership of the Independents and Greens in their long-standing commitment to advocating for gambling reform,” says Cameron.
“We look forward to Chris Minns and Labor doing the same.”
This announcement stands in contrast to the false claims from the gambling industry that the technology required would prevent the implementation of this critical reform measure.
“Cashless card technology to address money laundering from criminal activity, and to stem the tide of misery caused by gambling, exist and are in the field in clubs and pubs right now.
“The gambling industry is delivering every excuse possible to desperately stop a reform measure that is the NSW Crime Commission’s priority recommendation, that gambling reformers are calling for, that Tasmania has announced and that has been legislated for NSW casinos within two years.
“Most clubs and many pubs have loyalty schemes. Patrons have cards, and they swipe them on every poker machine and amass loyalty points which the venue uses to put them into tiers in the membership system. The venue knows how much has been lost, won, and how often the person gambles – all the basic information, and all using a smart card, which is being proposed to use now to prevent crime and reduce harm.
“Cashless card” is a phrase that means putting software together with something – the digital wallet applications currently being trialled in Wests Newcastle include both money laundering and gambling harm minimisation features. This trial is being overseen by Liquor and Gaming. Victoria’s YourPlay card system has many of the proposed features, and the only reason it didn’t work was that it was voluntary. Mandatory systems ensure effectiveness, and this is what the Crime Commissioner has recommended and should be legislated as soon as possible. There are no reasonable excuses or reasons not to proceed, and it is disingenuous to say otherwise.
“The gambling industry currently relies on the shame and stigma that people experiencing harm feel. It’s what stops people from seeking help, or taking action to protect themselves. Voluntary cards reinforce stigma because a person is identifying themselves as needing help by requesting one. Mandatory (or universal) cards mean everyone has to use them – stopping criminal activity and providing useful tools for people to help guard against gambling harm caused by poker machines, which have been designed to addict.”
Recommendations for a cashless gambling card, including harm minimisation measures: https://www.wesleymission.org.au/news-and-publications/vested-interests-should-not-limit-urgent-implementation-of-cashless-gambling-card/
Sulkunen, P., Babor, T., Cisneros, J., Egerer, M.,Hellman, M., Livingstone, C., Marionneau, V., Nikkenen, J.,Orford, J., Room, R., & Rossow, I. (2018). Setting Limits: Gambling, Science and Public Policy. (1sted.) (OxfordMedicine). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198817321.001.0001
Amanda Bailey: 0429 484 632
Anne Holt: 0418 628 342
For media reporting on gambling harm, please strongly consider including help-seeking information:
- You can find support information on the GambleAware website.
- Speak to a counsellor 24 hours a day via the GambleAware Helpline on 1800 858 858
- Counselling is confidential and free of charge and is available to both individuals and family members experiencing gambling harm.