NSW Crime Commissioner Pushes for Mandatory Cashless Gaming
- The NSW Crime Commissioner wants mandatory cashless gaming in NSW pubs and clubs
- The push comes after the Commission found criminals laundering money through pokie machines
- MPs are divided on the cashless gaming proposal
The New South Wales (NSW) Crime Commission, Australia is pushing for the implementation of a mandatory cashless system at pokie venues throughout the state, citing the findings of its inquiry into money laundering.
In its final report “Project Islington” released in October 2022, the Commission concluded that pokie machines in NSW are being used by criminals to launder dirty cash. Commissioner Michael Barnes said pubs and clubs can no longer turn a blind eye to the issue now that it has been found that their establishments have become an avenue for money laundering.
The NSW Crime Commission conducted the probe in cooperation with the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority, AUSTRAC, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and NSW Police. The inquiry found that a massive portion of the $95 billion gambled in pubs and clubs across the state in the 2020-21 financial year was money derived from illicit activities.
Mixed Views from MPs
Commissioner Barnes said pubs and clubs have a responsibility to take reasonable action to prevent money laundering inside their premises, and one way to do that is to adopt a cashless gaming system.
However, several MPs are skeptical about Barnes’ proposal, with some saying the NSW Crime Commission’s report lacks solid evidence to prove that money laundering is indeed a major issue in pubs and clubs, with the agency failing to provide the exact amount of criminal proceeds it claims was gambled in pokie machine venues in the past financial year.
The measure is also vehemently opposed by pubs and clubs as according to them, it won’t address the root cause of the problem and will only do more harm than good.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet earlier expressed his support for the implementation of mandatory cashless gaming cards though he did not go as far as providing a timeline for when it will be implemented. Labor leader Chris Minns doesn’t want to rush things and instead recommended an expanded trial of the cashless system.
The Sydney Morning Herald reached out to a number of NSW politicians for their opinion on the issue. MPs representing jurisdictions that are home to the 20 largest pokie machine venues outside casinos declined to comment, while most Labor MPs back the stance of their party leader.