The New South Wales government recently announced an expansion of its cashless gambling card trial across the state, reports iGaming Business. The trial began in 2020 and aims to reduce gambling harm by requiring patrons at participating venues to load funds onto unique cashless cards to play slots and other electronic gaming machines.
Initially rolled out at 14 registered clubs across New South Wales, the cashless card system is now being expanded to 50 additional venues after the state deemed the initial trial successful in curbing problem gambling behaviors. By loading a limited amount of money onto cards ahead of time rather than inserting cash directly into machines, players can better track their spending and potentially rein in excessive gambling.
According to New South Wales Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government Victor Dominello, data from the first two years of the trial demonstrated that the cashless cards help patrons "stick to limits and budgets." Among gamblers using the cards, average expenditure is down 10% while average playing time has dropped 12%. The expansion comes after 83% of trial participants reported feeling more in control of their spending with the card system.
While promising, the cashless card approach has skeptics. As reported by iGaming Business, some analysts caution that problem gamblers determined to chase losses could still drain multiple cards in one session. Implementation costs for venues remain high, with specialized card reader hardware required for every electronic gaming machine. The state has dedicated 8.8 million Australian dollars to offset upgrade expenses for participating clubs.
Moving forward, Minister Dominello stated that the New South Wales government would continue monitoring the expanded trial's data on markers of gambling harm like frequency of play, expenditure, and turnover. The long-term goal is to transition the entire state's electronic gaming machine sector to cashless transactions only. If the current expansion successfully curtailed excessive losses, a state-wide mandate could be on the horizon.
You can read more details on New South Wales' cashless gambling card trial at iGaming Business here: https://igamingbusiness.com/legal-compliance/regulation/nsw-government-expands-cashless-gambling-trial/