Head of NSW Cashless Gambling Panel Wants Trial Extended to Thousands More Poker Machines

July 17, 2023 | Gambling

SYDNEY, NSW, Australia (July 14, 2023) — According to local media reports the head of a panel to oversee a New South Wales trial of cashless gambling on 500 poker machines would like to see it expanded to include at least 2,500 more to enable “proper research analysis” of the scheme.

Guardian Australia reported Michael Foggo, a former liquor, gaming and racing commissioner, said he also hopes to report to the state government next year that “cashless gaming works”.

Foggo said an expansion of scheme to include a wider “range of situations and venues” could provide better data.

“Three thousand probably represents about 4% [of machines in the state], and that’s getting towards a reasonable amount,” Foggo said.

Foggo was announced to lead a panel of 16 industry representatives and reform advocates over the next 15 months, before reporting back to the government next November.

While he did not want to prejudge the research, Foggo said he hoped the trial showed cashless gambling was a viable option for the state.

“I’d love to see a situation where you say cashless gaming works, here’s the evidence that proves that it does work and that industries are happy enough with that result,” he said.

The premier, Chris Minns, has vowed to make public the panel’s findings.

“If cashless gaming works, we will implement it,” he said.

“I do commit today to have the report fully publicly available to the people of NSW.”

Minns flagged the possibility of conflict between members of the panel that had vastly different opinions on reform, noting Foggo would “strive towards a consensus” but that a dissenting report was possible.

“This is the first time that those who are passionately in favour of harm minimisation and gambling reform, as well as industry, have served on the same panel at the same time,” he said.

“Independent panel members that, in the end, don’t agree with the recommendations are free to produce a minority report so that it can be litigated in the public space.”

Longtime advocates for reform have welcomed news of the panel and the imminent start of the trial expected to start within a few months.

The Wesley Mission’s chief executive, Rev Stu Cameron, said it would be important to see the trial conducted as thoroughly as possible to reduce ambiguity in the results.

“As large a sample size as possible would be really helpful,” he said.

“Our view is that this should be approached as a pre-implementation trial. The evidence is really strong already, the technology’s there.”

The chief executive of the New South Wales Council of Social Services, Joanna Quilty, said having people with experience of gambling harm being heard by the panel was important.

“We would hope that there were opportunities for those voices to be heard,” she said.

The opposition has accused the government of delaying with a trial rather than implementing the NSW crime commission’s recommendation to implement cashless gambling after finding money was being laundered through machines across the state.

SOURCE: Guardian Australia.

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