BY JARROD MELMETH
Wests Newcastle and Aristocrat Gaming has struck a deal with the Minister for Customer Service to trial a cashless gaming card.
The deal was announced on Monday morning by the Minister Victor Dominello who said the card will be able to be used for all services including poker machines.
“I support this digital proposal as it is linked to identity, a bank account and with harm minimisations settings.
“This will help us combat the twin sins of money laundering and problem gambling, addressing the key concerns of the Bergin Inquiry,” Mr Dominello said.
Its the first trial of its kind and is raising concerns from local gambling counselling services who say the system does not have the interest of the community at heart.
Data from Liquor and Gaming revealed local pubs, clubs and hotels were making more money off poker machines in the second half of 2020 than in the first, despite fewer machines and pandemic restrictions.
Newcastle’s clubs and hotels made a massive $40 million more in the latter half of 2020, while Cessnock profits jumped to 112 per cent.
Wests CEO Phil Gardner says the trail is about improving the experience and welfare of members.
“What this does is it links the capacity to get money onto your phone and puts the power back onto the phone.
“If I’m having a problem with gambling and I want to talk to someone, I have got to come into the club, I have got to go back to that environment and I have got to have a conversation.
“With the trial we are gonna run with the phone you can sit at home and set a limit and exclude yourself. You can talk to us and we will support you,” Mr Gardner said.