The state government has avoided a contentious fight in parliament over a cashless card for gambling, by delaying its clubs reform bill.
- MP Alex Greenwich has attempted to have parliament vote on a cashless gambling card
- The gaming industry and some within the government reject the initiative recommended by an independent commission last month
- A short trial of the card is underway in Newcastle
Crucial crossbench MP Alex Greenwich planned to introduce an amendment to the legislation so it would include a cashless gaming card to address problem gambling and money laundering.
Last month, Racing Minister Kevin Anderson introduced the legislation to parliament, a week before the Crime Commission’s report into money laundering in pubs and clubs was released.
The report found dirty money was being funnelled through the gaming rooms of suburban pubs and clubs and recommended a cashless gaming card.
The legislation did not include a cashless gaming card but instead focused on administrative changes and the use of facial recognition technology in clubs.
There has been opposition from within the industry as well as some within the government to introduce a mandatory cashless card, after it was first flagged by the previous racing minster, Victor Dominello.
But Mr Greenwich planned to force the government as well as Labor’s hand by attempting to amend the legislation.
“NSW is the gambling harm capital of the world, and clubs have become mini casinos where money laundering is rife,” Mr Greenwich said.
“Urgent action is needed, and that includes a transition to cashless cards in all gaming venues in NSW.”
Mr Anderson said the government was considering the commission’s report and would “respond to all the recommendations”.
Premier Dominic Perrottet has previously made it clear he wants a comprehensive response to the report.
The ABC understands the plan is for the response to be produced ahead of the March election, but won’t be in time to make legislative changes.
A three-month trial of a cashless gaming system was launched last month in Newcastle.