The New South Wales (NSW) government’s Independent Panel on Gaming Reform has agreed to a “bigger and broader cashless gaming trial,” to begin in the first quarter of 2024.
“This expanded trial will include around 4,500 machines across 28 clubs and hotels across 24 metropolitan and regional local government areas,” according to a press release published on Friday by the Australian state’s gaming regulator, Liquor & Gaming NSW.
The independent panel – which comprises key industry, law enforcement, community, and ‘harm-minimisation’ representatives – “has endorsed a broad range of venues of various sizes for the trial, ensuring information can be collected and recommendations developed for the NSW government,” added the announcement.
The trial is to involve a mixture of large clubs with over 300 machines, through to smaller regional clubs and pubs. The testing process will also seek to measure any impacts on employees, the infrastructure and technology costs.
The authorities established a set of minimum requirements for participating venues, including harm minimisation protections, anti-money laundering protections, data security and privacy protections.
Five technology providers “have been given conditional approval” to participate in the extended trial, “subject to essential cybersecurity requirements”.
The Australia-based Gaming Technologies Association (GTA) said in a statement on Friday that four of its members are to take part in the expanded cashless gaming trial.
They include Australia-listed technology and gaming supplier Aristocrat Leisure Ltd; casino equipment provider Light & Wonder Inc; gaming equipment manufacturer International Game Technology Plc (IGT); and gaming systems company eBet.
“The focus for GTA is to ensure a fair and balanced path for gaming technology in Australia,” said Jinesh Patel, GTA’s chief executive, in prepared remarks.
“The trial is complex and costly but we are committed to finding a path forward and working with the NSW government,” he added.
The 4,500 machines included in the trial are in addition to more than 250 units that were part earlier this year of a cashless trial at Wests Newcastle and Club York. Aristocrat Leisure was already involved in the first market trial of cashless gaming in the state, which concluded on June 30.
The regulator’s Friday release quoted the NSW minister for gaming and racing, David Harris, as saying that the expanded trial in 2024 signifies the “next step” in the state government’s gaming reform agenda.
“The strong interest in participating in the cashless gaming trial proves just how serious clubs and hotels are about working with the government to reduce gambling harm and money laundering associated with electronic gaming machines,” stated Mr Harris.
He added: “The industry is clearly behind us as we undergo these landmark gaming reforms as part of our commitment to addressing money laundering and gambling harm in NSW.”
The information gathered during the trial is expected to give “valuable insight” to regulators, “considering no jurisdiction in Australia has implemented a statewide cashless gaming system,” according to the release.
The trial is being overseen by the independent panel, which was established by the NSW government in July. The panel is scheduled to provide a gaming reform report to the NSW government by November 2024.
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