New South Wales is set to introduce a voluntary cashless gambling system, in spite of calls for an obligatory one. Crime specialists had previously proposed going cashless as a way to fight financial crime.
NSW Divided Over Cashless Gaming
A report by the NSW Crime Commission previously outlined the possible benefits of introducing a mandatory cashless gaming system to the state’s gambling venues. The commission believes that replacing cash payments with a gaming card scheme would help to curb the rampant crime in local pubs and clubs where money laundering is commonplace.
However, the proposition has met fierce resistance from the aforementioned pubs and clubs, which oppose the introduction of cashless gaming. In the end, amid strong pressure from opponents of gambling, Chris Minns, leader of the opposition, announced that the Labor party is inclined to trial cashless gaming.
Depending on the results the trial yields, the Labor party may support an expansion of the scheme. Minns explained that what he wants to see is evidence that cashless gambling works. This way, the government would be also able to see whether the scheme has a negative impact on local clubs.
A Less-Effective Voluntary System May Be Trialed
Experts expect the government to launch a trial program in select venues. However, even in these cases, cashless gaming may remain voluntary. This, according to supporters of the scheme, is a huge problem as it would undermine the efficiency of the measure. They pointed out that billions of dollars are laundered in pubs and clubs, which is why drastic action is needed.
While Minns explained that the system needs to remain voluntary so as to not hurt the revenues of clubs and pubs, experts from the Crime Commission said that a voluntary card will do next to nothing about money laundering. Even worse, a hybrid system risks facilitating money laundering as it would allow evildoers to exploit the cashless card scheme.
Stu Cameron, CEO of Wesley Mission, noted that Victoria’s iteration of cashless gaming failed to work precisely because of the voluntary aspect. According to him, there is no reason not to introduce a mandatory system.
Meanwhile, Alex Greenwich, Sydney’s independent MP, scrutinized the opponents of the new measure. He previously critiqued ClubsNSW’s lobbying and accused the political parties of pandering to the union’s demands.
However, Minns is adamant about his refusal to introduce cashless gaming as a mandatory measure unless further evidence is provided.