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Last night saw a historic victory for Labor in NSW, with Chris Minns elected premier in a huge swing against the long-running Coalition government.
Results saw Labor win key seats across Penrith, Parramatta, East Hills, Heathcote, Riverstone and the South Coast; becoming the first party to control all states and mainland territories since 2006.
Counting will continue first thing on Monday morning. The outgoing Liberal leader Dominic Perrottet made a gracious concession speech, congratulating Chris Minns as an “excellent” successor to his role. Pre-election predictions were not prepared for how large Labour’s margin of victory would be.
We will just have to wait and see.
New South Wales (NSW) Premier Dominic Perrottet’s long-awaited gambling reforms have passed a cabinet meeting, making all poker machines in the state cashless within five years.
The cashless gaming card was proposed by Perrottet following a report from the NSW Crime Commission that found billions of dollars of illicit funds were being funnelled through poker machines annually. The commission suggested the adoption of a cashless gaming card.
The reforms include a support package so clubs and pubs can introduce the new technology. Small and medium venues will have access to interest-free loans to purchase up-to-date pokies that have cashless technology payment methods, while pubs and clubs will receive one-time grants of $50,000 to help diversify their income sources, such as quizzes, music and catering, and decrease their dependence on money raised via gambling.
An independent and monitored team will be announced in April to make sure cash cannot be used for pokies within a five-years. The Department of NSW Premier and Cabinet’s Secretary, Michael Coutts-Trotter, will lead the team, which comprises Treasury personnel, the NSW Privacy Commissioner, specialists in harm reduction, representatives from pubs and clubs, and the NSW Police. The support for Perrottet’s stance comes from a diverse group including Mark Morey of Unions NSW, Police Commissioner Karen Webb, ex-PM John Howard, former federal Nationals head John Anderson, Health Services Union and United Workers Union in NSW, religious organizations, and top charities. The aim is to complete the changes by the end of 2028.
The decision to pursue a cashless gaming card was influenced by a report from the NSW Crime Commission which found billions of dollars of dirty money was being recycled through poker machines each year. Patrons spending limits will be defined, which can be changed one time per week, but the implementation team will consider further daily limits. No personal data will be collected.
The legislation will include a regulation to give struggling venues an extension if they cannot fulfill their obligations on time.
The government has said it will repurchase 2,000 poker machines over five years.
Opposition Leader Chris Minns, who was initially hesitant to support a cashless gaming card, recently revealed a plan for a mandatory trial of at least 500 poker machines if the Labor Party wins the upcoming March election. Everyone has pokies reform at the heart of the election campaign.
However, key crossbench MPs and advocates for gambling reform have criticized the policy as insufficient, as the 500 machines included in the trial represent less than 1% of the state’s 90,000 machines.
The Labor policy includes a ban on political donations from clubs that house poker machines, lowering the cash feed-in limits to $500, and prohibiting pokie advertising outside all venues. Additionally, the number of poker machines will be reduced by increasing the forfeiture rate for clubs and pubs and lowering the statewide cap for the number of pokies each year. The current system allows for the trading of extra poker machines but requires the forfeiture of one machine for every three new ones.
Labor’s proposal will increase the forfeiture rate to one for every two purchased, while the Coalition’s plan includes the purchase of 2000 machines to reduce the overall number. Sources suggest that the Coalition’s buyback plan will more rapidly decrease the number of machines compared to Labor’s approach.
The Coalition’s plan would reduce the number of machines more quickly than Labor’s scheme but may face criticism for not going far enough.
ClubsNSW, one of the strongest opponents of mandatory cashless gaming, is reevaluating its stance after the dismissal of CEO Josh Landis last week. We here really hope this doesn’t turn into a dirty tricks campaign during the upcoming elections.
The latest stats revealed that gamblers lost over $2.1 billion on poker machines in just 100 days last year, marking the highest losses in the state’s history. Daily profits from poker machines for pubs and clubs reached $23 million, as losses increased by 11% last year. Although pub machines only account for 26% of the state’s poker machines, they make up 44% of total losses.
Liquor and Gaming NSW figures indicate that machines in western Sydney generated the highest profits, with gaming machines in Canterbury-Bankstown making $182 million in the third quarter of 2022, followed by Fairfield and Cumberland. Additionally, machines in regional NSW also recorded multimillion-dollar profits, with those on the Central Coast earning $85 million, Wollongong $53 million, and Newcastle $51 million.
According to Wesley Mission’s analysis, the average poker machine in NSW now claims nearly $100,000 in losses per year, with an estimated 900,000
With all this corruption and confusion you should just enjoy a night out and eat, drink and be merry. There are so many awesome venues in NSW like Brass Monkey or Mary’s Underground. I really like the Gaelic Club. I enjoy playing pokies online from the comfort of my phone. These reforms could really change the way Australians go out and play. Would facial recognition technology be a better solution
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