New South Wales Backs off Plans to Introduce Cashless Gaming

Posted on: April 19, 2022, 08:31h. 

Last updated on: April 19, 2022, 08:52h.

While cashless options are taking hold in many parts of the global casino space, New South Wales may go in a different direction. Instead, it might choose opt-in digital payments, a move some say is counterintuitive.

Cashless gaming
A woman uses one version of cashless gaming to gamble on a slot machine. New South Wales may move away from the concept. (Image: Inside Asian Gaming)

Cashless gaming continues to find more support around the world. Because it leaves a dedicated trail of transactions, proponents feel that it is a great way to reduce the risk of money laundering. In addition, it makes it easier on gamblers and gives them more control over their spending. Most cashless gaming options include mechanisms that allow individuals to watch what they spend and when.

New South Wales (NSW) previously began exploring cashless gaming, but with a slightly different approach. Gamblers would need to first fund smart cards, which could then be used in casinos and other gambling venues.

The idea found plenty of support, even from Supreme Court Judge Patricia Bergin, who would later help uncover Crown Resorts’ failings through the Bergin Inquiry. However, NSW is now going in a different direction, and could be ready to dump the idea of cashless gaming.

Cashless Not a Suitable Alternative

NSW tested cashless gaming in 2020 and found that the alternative had promise. Bergin weighed in, asserting that cashless options could be viable in the prevention of money laundering. However, she never came out and officially acknowledged a recommendation.

The Canberra Times reports that NSW may prefer to use an opt-in system centered on digital payments, but not cashless options across the board. The NSW Crime Commission is reportedly still reviewing data from the pilot, as well as other information. Its opinion on the subject will play a crucial role in whether cashless options receive the green light.

The media outlet asserts that the government is retreating due to pressure from casinos, bars, and other venues that collect revenue from gaming machines. The mandatory use of a card, they feel, would slash their operations.

Justin Field, a NSW member of parliament, states that the use of an opt-in system does little to combat money laundering. He correctly asserts that there is no way criminals would willingly agree to voluntarily participate in something that could possibly shine a light on their activity.

There’s still a chance that cashless could survive. In light of the ongoing debacle involving Crown and Star Entertainment, physical cash is losing its value. Some type of digital option will become the primary funding mechanism, even if it takes another 10 years.

Cashless Options Offer Greater Protections

Cashless is not a new concept, although it gained a lot more focus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Las Vegas, New York, Atlantic City, Spain and other locations are already adopting the technology, with many only embracing it in the past year.

Cashless is safer for gamblers and casinos. A pickpocket can swipe a wallet containing cash, but it would be a futile move in a digital world. One particular cashless system includes a USB key and biometric identification in order to provide better security.

There are also responsible gaming benefits to cashless that cash-based operations cannot provide. Cashless systems can combine a variety of technologies to improve performance and ease of use.

They can allow gamblers to set pre-commitment limits on their spending, as well as time limits. In addition, systems can allow gamblers to self-exclude at any time.

For all of the problems NSW and Australia face with the casino industry, not incorporating a digital solution that offers all of the bells and whistles responsible gaming advocates want seems counterintuitive. Because the government has not yet concluded its study, there’s still a chance it moves in the digital direction.