Wesley Mission’s 2023-27 NSW Gambling Reform Platform Goals to Protect our Communities - March 2023

Gambling reform platform goals

1.    Implement universal cashless gambling with harm reduction measures built-in.  Every poker machine in the state be modified to only accept a card or a digital wallet as the payment.  Such payment systems must be linked to bank accounts or debit cards, which themselves are linked to a proven identity. This puts the power to manage gambling time and spending back into the hands of bank customers. A card or digital wallet be required to set sensible loss limits – with the default being the Tasmanian model of $100 a day, $500 a week, $5,000 a year.  People could choose to set their limit at $0 if they want. People can also set their time limits so that machines will stop working after a set time, and the person cannot just move to the next machine. If they are still within their limit but need to top up funds, the card/wallet cannot be used for 30 minutes to encourage people to take a break. Improved activity statements can be generated, and winnings quarantined. If someone has self excluded, their card or wallet will not be accepted.

2.     Power-down poker machines after midnight.  All poker machines in pubs and clubs to be turned off between midnight and 10 am.

3.     Establish an independent State-wide self-exclusion register in NSW

4.     Local Councils are well-placed to act on behalf of their communities. They hold planning, economic, and social data that creates a more complete picture of community composition and should be considered in the determination of poker machine applications.  Local Councils to have a statutory right to be able to make submissions on every poker machine application in their community, regardless of Local Impact Assessment (LIA) status, and appeal any decision made by the Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority.

5.     Greater transparency in NSW publish venue data

“The Australian Productivity Commission in its report on gambling argued that there is a strong case for improving the transparency of data on gambling. The ability of researchers to measure the harm caused by electronic gaming machines, and the effectiveness of measures to reduce that harm, is constrained by the difficulty (and in some cases, the impossibility) of obtaining access to data on gambling. This is a particular problem in relation to data on electronic gaming machines (EGMs). The ideal arrangement would be one in which, every six months, each gambling venue published weekly data on the number of EGMs, gross profit, and average expenditure per customer.”

Professor Don Weatherburn - PSM Ph.D. FASSA, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre.