NSW’s cashless gambling trial expands to include nearly 4,500 poker machines - 15 Dec 2023

Program to start in 2024 with nine times more pokies than initially planned by Labor

Almost 4,500 poker machines across 24 local government areas will be included in the New South Wales government’s cashless gambling trial to begin early next year.

The expanded trial will take place across 28 clubs of varying sizes, with advocates hoping it leads to universal cashless gaming in NSW, after both major parties put forward gambling reform plans at the March election.

In July the government announced that Michael Foggo, a former liquor, gaming and racing commissioner, would lead a panel of 16 industry representatives and reform advocates, who would then report back to the government in November 2024.

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Data will be collected from the machines and then analysed as part of the trial. The effects on club and hotel employees, as well as infrastructure requirements and costs, will also be considered.

The premier, Chris Minns, has vowed to make public the panel’s findings and promised to implement cashless gaming if it works.

The gambling minister, David Harris, said the trial was “bigger, broader and delivers nine times more machines” than the initial proposal.

NSW residents lost $4.3bn to poker machines in six months last year – $820m more than the total losses recorded in a similar period before the pandemic.

More than 220 new machines were installed across venues over the same period, taking the state total to 86,872.

Total gaming machine net profits jumped 11% to $4.26bn – 24% higher than the $3.44bn reached in the last six months of 2019.