NSW advances cashless gaming goals in next step to reducing harms


New South Wales is advancing its cashless gaming ambitions through the formation of an independent panel to establish, implement, evaluate and review an impending trial.

Representatives from the likes of NSW cyber security and police force will also provide input, with the panel to deliver a final report, findings and recommendations, including an implementation roadmap for gaming reforms, to the state government at its conclusion. A first priority is mandating certain requirements to participate.

The group could also seek input from a wide range of external experts in the field and government bodies, such as the NSW Crime Commission, NSW Information and Privacy Commission and AUSTRAC.  

Chris Minns, Premier of NSW, said that this represents “an important step” in minimising the “harmful effects of problem gaming on families” and eradicating criminal activity.

“The panel has a big job to do but we have the balance right to ensure we have an evidence-based roadmap for future gaming reforms,” he noted.

The independent panel, comprising representatives from law enforcement, gambling and health experts, academics and industry, will be led by Michael Foggo, NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing Commissioner.

A total of 16 individuals will be recruited, including three independent executive committee members with “extensive experience” in government-led inquiries and committees in Foggo, Ursula Stephens, former Labor Senator, and Niall Blail, former MLC and Deputy Leader of the NSW Nationals.

Additional members will include four industry representatives and two academics with relevant expertise. Cyber Security NSW and NSW Police will gain once each, and a representative of the United Workers Union will also be present.

“Harmful gambling not only impacts individuals but also their loved ones and the broader community, which is why it is so important that we work together to reduce gambling harm,” Foggo explained.

“Harmful gambling not only impacts individuals but also their loved ones and the broader community”

Michael Foggo, NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing Commissioner

“We must also ensure that there are appropriate mechanisms in place to stop the money laundering and criminal activity associated as outlined in the NSW Crime Commission report.

“We want to make sure we get the balance right and consider all relevant factors so that any future reforms implemented by the NSW government work.

“The independent panel will get straight to work and will meet in the coming weeks to confirm the framework of the cashless gaming trial and recommend an appropriate mix of venues for the trial to the NSW government.”

The 16 person panel is charged with developing recommendations for the government to consider in relation to the possible introduction of cashless gaming in hotels and clubs.

This must take a number of factors into consideration, including the required infrastructure investments, impact on employment and industry, options to further reduce gambling harm, and the impact on reducing the risk of money laundering.

Advice on an implementation roadmap must be delivered by November 2024, which will advise the government on the use of a A$100m harm minimisation fund, expanded self-exclusion register, use of facial recognition, milestones for delivery and technical and system standards and privacy and data protections that should be adopted.

David Harris, Minister for Gaming & Racing, explained: “We have taken the time to get the right people around the table to ensure we get the best possible trial that will protect consumers and provide confidence in cashless gaming.

“Michael Foggo and the independent panel will advise on the technology, infrastructure, cost, impact on industry and employment, and options to reduce gambling harm, that is their primary purpose.

“I look forward to the panel’s expert contribution as we continue to deliver on our commitment to gambling reform.”