NSW Government torn over pre-paid gambling cards

By Violeta Prockyte

The New South Wales Government is undecided about pre-paid gambling cards that are used in pub and club gaming machines.

The idea of pre-paid cards was introduced late last year by Victor Dominello as a way to help people manage their gambling. Players would be required to register to obtain a government-regulated card, which would then allow them to preload money and use it for gaming purposes in various venues.

The discussion of the proposal gained new traction after Patricia Bergin, in her report into Crown Resorts, stated the cards would be a good system to combat money-laundering.

MP Andrew Wilkie, an advocate for gambling reform, supports the card because it can “significantly reduce money-laundering and provide opportunities for reducing the prevalence of gambling addiction”.

He is also quoted as saying it’s important NSW is leading this discussion because the “state is home to about half the country’s poker machines, as well as the poker machine industry’s most strident advocates."

“The community now understands much more clearly the harm caused by poker machines,” said Wilkie. “Moreover, revelations like the Bergin Crown inquiry have alerted people to the importance of gambling for money-laundering.”

However, the Nationals party remains sceptical and otsleader John Barilaro argues this is “not the time to strangle pubs and clubs with red tape”.

The impact of COVID-19 is one of his main arguments as to why the cards could harm pubs and clubs financially.


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