The Greens welcome the Government’s plan to implement cashless gambling but call for urgent interim measures to reduce gambling harm and money laundering while it’s being implemented, says Cate Faehrmann, Greens MP and gambling harm reduction spokesperson after the Government announced its plan to implement cashless gambling by 2028.
“I congratulate the Premier for finally laying out a pathway to cashless gambling, but he needs to get this done within the next term of parliament. Five years is too long for the people and communities who are suffering right now,” said Cate Faehrmann.
“The Premier also needs to make sure steps are taken to reduce gambling harm and money laundering now while the card is being rolled out.
“The Premier should immediately reduce the cash input limit on all poker machines to $500 to reduce the risk of money laundering now. I understand this is simple to do reasonably quickly.
“Those experiencing gambling harm now don’t have time to wait four years. The Premier also needs to commit to legislating strong responsible gambling requirements for venues and not rely on them to self police with a code of conduct.
“Grants for pubs and clubs to fund alternative income streams to poker machines are a great idea but should only be made available to venues that are committed to going pokies free. Venues that are going to profit off the suffering of others shouldn’t get a handout on top.
“The Liberals have now put their plan on the table to move NSW to cashless gambling for pokies. Everyone is on board with this except Labor.
“Labor needs to finally step up and commit to mandatory statewide cashless gambling to ensure a multi-partisan approach to ending money laundering and reducing gambling harm.
“Since 2017, the number of poker machines has reduced by about 7,000 machines but the amount of money being lost to pokies has increased. So buying back 2,000 machines will have an extremely limited benefit, if any. Buybacks should be targeted to increase the number of venues that remove all of their poker machines and create a safer space for the community,” said Cate Faehrmann.