Australian Politician Warns Gambling Cards Could Threaten Clubs and Pubs

  • The NSW government wants to transition to cashless gaming machines with gambling cards
  • Former NSW Labor leader Michael Daley is staunchly against the proposed scheme
  • Senior minister Victor Dominello is leading the push and has bipartisan support
  • Opponents fear government overreach and damage to pubs and clubs
Slot machine
Michael Daley of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly believes that gaming machines going cashless via the use of gamblings card would harm pubs and clubs. [Image:]

Staunchly in opposition

Former New South Wales (NSW) Labor leader Michael Daley issued a warning about a proposed cashless gambling card system for gaming machines, saying that such a scheme would likely make life even more difficult for clubs and pubs, which are already struggling to survive due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

some of these measures could really devastate pubs and clubs”

Daley was formerly in charge of the NSW gaming and racing shadow portfolio. Speaking about the proposed changes, he said: “Some of these measures could really devastate pubs and clubs at a time when their survival is under threat and protecting jobs is paramount.”

He also has civil liberty concerns about the gambling cards, worried that the government will be able to track a person’s activities or record their biometrics through the cards. 

Details of the potential system

Under the proposed scheme, gamblers would have to register for a card and then pre-load funds onto it before they would be able to gamble. The card would work in a similar way to the cashless public transportation system that is already in place in the region. 

The Privacy Commissioner would design and oversee the card, which would also link to the NSW gambling self-exclusion list. Senior Minister Victor Dominello is responsible for gaming and has bipartisan support for these potential changes.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the NSW Greens, One Nation, Animal Justice Party, and independent MP Justin Field are all in favor of the gambling card scheme.

Other opponents

Clubs and pubs are opposing any such changes, as electronic gaming machines were the main driver of the AU$6.5bn (US$4.7bn) their businesses generated in 2019.

ClubsNSW said that it is the worst time possible to be forcing members into using “expensive solutions.” The representative body’s chief executive, Josh Landis, noted that any measures the government introduces need to be effective and affordable. 

Bankstown Labor MP Tania Mihailuk voiced her opposition to the government’s plans via Twitter:

The Shooters, Fishers and Farmers group has also spoken out against the gambling card scheme, saying that the government is overreaching and that system relies on “fallible and hackable cloud-based solutions.” Group leader Robert Borsak said that the economic impact of such a move would be “devastating” for sports clubs and pubs.

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