NSW Pokie Operators Lash Out At Government For Looking At Only Cashless Play
The pokie machine business in New South Wales, Australia generates over A$6 billion in revenue each year and is responsible for keeping over 100,000 Aussies employed and generating over $1 billion in taxes for the state government.
Australians have a reputation of being the world’s worst gamblers and it is a known fact that they spend the most on pokies and sports betting. This is one of the main reasons why the NSW government is looking to bring in new measures that would curb the amount of money spent on pokie machines.
There are over 95,000 pokie machines in NSW and punters can access these machines by walking into any club or bar. The new regulations will only permit individuals who have a cashless card to be able to bet and play on these pokie machines. The cashless card will be a government issued card similar to the Opal cashless cards that are used on the public transport network.
ABC News (Australia)
This new cashless card is the biggest change in gambling regulation that the state has seen. It will be regulated by the Privacy Commissioner and each card will be linked to NSW’s exclusion register. The proposal to make pokie machines accessible only to cashless card transactions is expected to get approval since there appears to be approval from the state government and the opposition parties on the new regulation.
Discussions are also being held on whether facial recognition technology can be used at pokie machines. This would be the best option in terms of recognizing problem gamblers and preventing them from playing.
Pokie Operators Slam Proposed Measures
Pokie operators have slammed the new measures pushing forward cashless play and facial recognition technologies. The NSW Australian Hotels Association said that their patrons would not be comfortable having to go through a facial recognition process each time they visited the pub to have a good time with their friends.
Clubs NSW also questioned the logic of the state government for trying to implement such a massive overhaul of the pokie industry at this particular time. Josh Landis, who heads Clubs NSW said the 10 week lockdown in the state has resulted in a 14 percent decline in revenue when compared to 2019 while food and beverage revenue have dropped by 70 percent.
Trying to implement these new measures during a pandemic is the last thing the industry needs. We will have to wait and see if NSW proceeds with the proposed regulations or slows things down