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The New South Wales (NSW) government of Australia continues to pressure gambling companies to streamline the rollout of cashless gambling cards and take more prominent actions on poker machines after announcements of reform in Victoria.
To mitigate the risk of money laundering through gambling venues, Premier Dan Andrews proposed that all poker machines in the state need pre-defined limits for cashless gambling cards. The amount of money that gamblers can put into the poker machine is set at $100, reduced from $1000.
Premier Chris Minns has set up a panel in the NSW to oversee the delayed cashless gaming cards trials, which will be sorted next year. Around 500 machines will be used as a part of the trial, however, as per government announcements, the number will be higher. Despite the efforts to curb money laundering activities, NSW Opposition Leader Mark Speakman said, “We don’t need this trial, we know what needs to be done, the Victorians are doing it without a trial, they’re getting on with it. The risk now is that if the Victorians are acting decisively, that money laundering is going to be pushed over the border into New South Wales.”
The gambling reform advocate, Tim Costello, stated that the state is proposing severe reforms and shared its insights that it will transfer money laundering activities to other states.
“Those wanting to launder their money will know that New South Wales is a paradise for money laundering for the ice traffickers and those who’ve stolen goods from our homes,” Mr Costello said. “I hope it doesn’t become a matter of pride for Chris Minns to say, ‘I’m going to dig in. He should follow what Dan Andrews has done,” he added.
In response to Tim Costello’s statements, Minns defended his approach and said there are many money laundering preventive measures, including a ban on the VIP Lounge, restriction on political parties accepting donations from gambling companies having poker machines and a cash limit of $500.
He said the panel would also look into other harm minimisation and anti-money laundering measures. “Cashless gaming is only in one jurisdiction in the world; it’s not prevalent. I don’t want to be in a situation where we pursue that reform in New South Wales, and the unintended consequence of that reform is that people lose more money as a result.
We want to see the evidence as it’s provided to the committee. I’m sure that committee will look to other jurisdictions in Australia and around the world to inform the government, but I want to see what information they can dig up and what recommendations they can make,” Mr Minns said.
However, the NSW Greens gambling harm reduction spokeswoman Cate Faehrmann said that the premier should follow its counterpart’s Victorian strict approach. “Look, this will place a huge amount of pressure on Chris Minns because whenever it takes place, we don’t know what the timeline yet is in terms of Victoria, but it will put a lot of pressure on him,” Ms Faehrmann said. “The premier is hiding behind what I think is a pathetic trial destined to fail,” she added.