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A Poker Machine Trial Targeted at Reducing Gambling Harm and Money Laundering is Expected to Start within the Next Month.

July 18, 2022 | Government

SYDNEY, Australia (July 18, 2022) — A 12-week trial targeted at reducing gambling harm and money laundering is expected to start at Wests Newcastle in the next month, more than a year after the concept was first floated, with support from the gambling lobby.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the opt-in wallet will be linked to a player’s identity and an Australian bank account and will include harm minimisation protections such as spending limits and real-time spending data.

Poker machine giant Aristocrat Leisure will oversee the trial of the technology that has been rolled out across 38 of its machines, to be used by at least 300 patrons.

Hospitality and Racing Minister Kevin Anderson said the government had approved two additional gaming manufacturers – International Game Technology (IGT) and Utopia Gaming – to conduct cashless trials, while another two applications were under consideration.

“The trials will explore different technologies and solutions with the common goal of addressing harm minimisation and anti-money laundering,” he said.

It comes amid an ongoing royal commission-style inquiry by the NSW Crime Commission into the rampant criminal use of gaming venues to wash dirty funds. The probe recently called for submissions about gaps in current laws, including the state’s machine credit limits of $5000 to $10,000, which are up to 100 times higher than other states.

Credit limits in clubs and pubs in Victoria and the NT are $1000, while in Queensland and South Australia the upper limit is only $100.

In a paper published this month, the commission considered whether limits should be “significantly reduced” to deter criminals seeking to exploit higher limits to conceal illicit funds.

The paper canvassed a scenario in which a person inserted $5000 cash being the proceeds of crime, placing one losing bet of $5 before cashing out $4995. Their ticket displays accumulated credits, but not the value of the bet made or won. This is repeated several times at different venues.

The commission found that “a lack of detail and transparency” on tickets created a potential avenue for exploitation.

The 12-week trial at Wests Newcastle will offer a Bluetooth connection between a patron’s mobile phone and the machine, allowing them to transfer money directly from their phone onto the machine.

Other technology being installed will force patrons to leave a gaming area to transfer funds.

Minister Anderson said all applications for cashless payment solutions would be closely assessed before any trials, adding that “ when it comes to digital solutions there is no one size fits all model”.

SOURCE: The Sydney Morning Herald.