Minns government under pressure after Victoria’s gambling reform

Instead of adopting Perrottet’s cashless playing card scheme, the Labor government promised to conduct a 12-month test run of cashless playing cards on 500 poker machines. The government has since announced that the number in the process could potentially be higher.


A panel of experts was appointed to oversee the process and decide whether cashless gambling should be rolled out on a larger scale. However, the process has yet to begin.

“The unnecessary and messy attempt at the cashless gambling card in New South Wales should be abandoned and Premier Minns should follow Victoria’s lead in committing to the nationwide introduction of a mandatory pre-mandatory cashless card,” said Costello.

“The Victorians have waited a very long time for meaningful and meaningful reforms like this.”

Costello warned that if NSW does not comply with Victoria’s gambling reforms, it could drive criminal money laundering activities from Victoria to NSW.

Victorian reforms include the mandatory closing of all gaming areas in pubs and clubs from 4am to 10am. The top-up limit, which is the amount a person can deposit into a poker machine at one time, will be capped at $100 instead of the current $1,000. The government also plans to lower the “spin rate” on poker machines from the current 2.1 seconds per game to three seconds, effectively slowing the pace of play and limiting losses.

Andrews said the changes, which are expected to come into force by the end of the year, would give Victoria the toughest gambling and anti-money laundering measures in Australia.

“We owe it to all Victorians to take that stance and help those affected make a difference in their lives,” he said.

NSW was the first state to legalize poker machines in 1956 and last year had more than 86,000 registered machines. Analysis by the Wesley Mission charity shows there were 30 percent more machines than Queensland and Victoria combined.

Profits (which equal player losses) generated by clubs and pubs in NSW reached US$8.1 billion last year, according to figures released by NSW Liquor and Gaming NSW. That compares to a profit of $6.61 billion in 2019, the most recent year not impacted by disruptions from COVID-19.

Research shows that the largest poker machine losses per person in Sydney are concentrated in relatively low-income areas in the city’s south-west suburbs.

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Justin Scaccy

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