Spending less, gambling more: The big changes to Aussie habits

How $4000 was washed through pokies in 60 minutes

A secret government report into money laundering through NSW pokies is being finalised as the state cabinet prepares for war over a proposed cashless gaming card.

The report will reveal how wads of money are cashed in and cashed out at clubs in the space of minutes without a single game being played, The Daily Telegraph understands.

However, a separate internal report has also warned that a cashless gaming card may have adverse effects on problem gambling, and even increase spending.

Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello will fight to bring in a cashless gaming card. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard
Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello will fight to bring in a cashless gaming card. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard

The NSW cabinet is bitterly divided over Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello's proposal for a cashless, identity-linked playing card for the pokies, with ClubsNSW and the NSW ­Nationals preparing a strong assault on the plan.

Both sides are pointing to evidence supporting their position.

One excerpt of the still unreleased Suspicious Gaming Activity Report, provided to The Daily Telegraph, shows how in as little as an hour at one NSW club, more than $4000 was turned over in three separate transactions with no games played in the machine.

The money is fed in before being immediately collected in the club - which officials have chosen at this stage not to identify - in what they believe is "washing" of criminal money.

Mr Dominello has seized on evidence from the Crown Casino inquiry to argue that a cashless gaming card would help fight money laundering.

 

Clubs are critical to regional NSW.
Clubs are critical to regional NSW.

 

However a separate ­report, held by the Office of Liquor and Gaming, has highlighted a suite of risks from a new gambling card which include possible overspending, with some evidence digital payment leads to increased gambling and losses "particularly for problem gamblers", as well as potentially "an increase in gambling sessions per day and week".

Deputy Premier John Barilaro, who believes clubs are critical to regional NSW, said he wanted to rely on facts and there was now a ­document clearly showing "such a card may not help problem gamblers".

The report notes that while using methods to set limits on money and time spent gaming have been identified as potential responsible gambling measures, "further empirical evidence is required on its impact of subsequent gambling behaviour".

The report also canvases data security and privacy concerns, saying care will need to be taken to ensure this.

 

 

Originally published as How $4000 was washed through pokies in 60 minutes


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