Despite ongoing media reports suggesting otherwise, ClubsNSW has been advocating for the introduction of cashless gaming technology for more than five years.
ClubsNSW Chairman Dr George Peponis OAM said while some have attempted to misrepresent the club industry’s position on cashless gaming, it has a long track record of support for digital payment options and responsible gambling.
The association first put forward the idea of digital payments with built-in responsible gambling tools for poker machines back in 2016.
This was followed up in 2018 with a commitment to a digital wallet trial with the NSW Government. As promised, that trial is currently underway across multiple venues.
In October 2022, ClubsNSW went on to announce a joint initiative with AHA NSW to roll out facial recognition technology in the gaming areas of clubs and pubs across the state, to further combat the onus of problem gambling and stop banned persons entering clubs.
Facial recognition is set to become a major part of the expanded Multi-Venue Self-Exclusion (MVSE) scheme, which prevents self-excluded problem gamblers from entering gaming areas.
“This system will instantly detect excluded individuals and prevent them from gambling in any pub or club in New South Wales,” Dr Peponis said.
When a person enters a gaming room their face will be scanned and compared with all faces in the self-exclusion system, and an alert will be sent to the venue immediately if there is a match, allowing staff to intervene. There have already been trials and close to 100 clubs are already operating the system effectively.
“We know that society is moving towards a cashless economy, which is why we already have a digital wallet trial underway,” said Dr Peponis.
“It’s our belief that people should have the ability to pay for play on a poker machine using cash or digital technology — just as they have options when it comes to paying for everything else.
However, despite Premier Dominic Perrottet’s announcement that he would mandate cashless systems in gaming rooms if re-appointed, ClubsNSW is not convinced that an untested mandatory cashless card is the way to go.
“The international experience demonstrates that forcing players to use cards drives recreational players to other forms of gambling, in particular to unregulated online casinos, and can exacerbate problem gambling,” said Dr Peponis.
“It’s worth remembering that the NSW Crime Commission’s recommendation for a mandatory cashless card was outlined in a report following the inquiry into money laundering via poker machines — not an inquiry into responsible gambling.
“That same report stated using gaming machines to clean large quantities of dirty money is ‘high risk and inefficient’ and that the practice is ‘not widespread’ in the industry. Rather than banning cash, we support banning criminals and problem gamblers from club gaming rooms,” added Dr Peponis.