Key NSW Independents Welcome Independent Panel Into Gambing Reform

13th July 2023

Key NSW Independents, Alex Greenwich Member for Sydney, Greg Piper Member for Lake Macquarie and Dr Joe McGirr Member for Wagga Wagga today welcomed the announcement of an independent panel into gambling reform by the Premier and Minister for Gaming and Racing.

This is an important step forward on the path to gaming machine reform that will lead to the protection of vulnerable gamblers and elimination of money laundering.

This panel, chaired by former NSW Commissioner of Liquor, Gaming and Racing Mr Michael Foggo includes representatives from law enforcement, gambling and health experts, academics, industry representatives, as well as a consumer with lived experience.

The panel will provide a balanced perspective to reform discussions, and its expertise and experience will hopefully ensure widespread implementation of a cashless gaming system following the initial cashless gaming trial.

The introduction of a cashless gaming card is a key recommendation of the NSW Crime Commission aimed at stopping crime syndicates laundering billions of dollars through poker machines.

About $95 billion is gambled through electronic gaming machines in clubs and hotels every year and data from the NSW Gambling Survey and Productivity Commission shows that 3.8 percent of all adults in the state are either problem gamblers or at risk, and together they represent up to 75 percent of electronic gaming machine spending.

Mr Greenwich, Mr Piper and Dr McGirr also support the review of the ClubGRANTS scheme. The ClubGRANTS scheme lacks transparency and accountability and has failed to improve the lives of the very disadvantaged people it was introduced to help. We welcome the opportunity for the panel to review the scheme and deliver value for money for gaming tax revenue.

“Problem gambling is the cause of great distress in many families and destroys some. Gambling reform was a key issue in the 2023 election and it is clear that the community have had enough. The community are calling for real reform in this area. Gambling reform has always been a difficult issue for major parties, I welcome the commitment of the Government to addressing this issue. The establishment of the independent panel is an important first step towards reform” said Mr Piper.

 “It is my hope that this expert panel provides New South Wales with the pathway to lead the world in reducing gambling harm and money laundering through cashless gaming”, said Mr Greenwich.

“I am encouraged to see that the Independent Panel for Cashless Gaming Trials has appointed and will be regularly meeting to provide advice and recommendations on the cashless gaming trials. The objective for all involved should to close a major loophole of criminal activity, to aid vulnerable persons away from problem gambling and to support venues in the transition to cashless gaming”, Dr McGirr stated.

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