Will Cashless Pokies Solve Australia’s Gambling Problems?

February 20, 2023

According to the New South Wales government, more than half of all adults in the state gamble. Whether in brick-and-mortar slot machines, lotteries, or Australian online casinos, Aussies indulge in some type of gambling.

But gambling has gone from a common pastime to a state-wide problem in NSW over the past few years. That is why the government has been doing everything possible to curb the problem.

The latest development on the topic involves a new comprehensive plan to replace regular pokies with cashless ones.

But will these cashless pokies be enough to solve Australia’s gambling problems? 

What Are Cashless Pokies?

Cashless pokies are poker machines that do not require actual money to work. Instead, the person using them can connect their smartphone to the machine using Bluetooth.

A simple money transfer from the digital wallet to the machine will enable the person to start betting. 

Cashless pokies are supposed to make betting more convenient and safer for bettors. They will no longer be of interest to criminals because there will be no money in them.

NSW government representatives also say that the machines should be able to curb money laundering as it will be very easy to trace transactions made through them.

How Can Cashless Pokies Help Australia’s Gambling Problem?

Putting aside the different deposit methods, cashless pokies are still pokies; they will allow people to play just as they would on standard poker machines. 

The mandatory self-exclusion limits will be what separates cashless from regular pokies. Before a person can make a deposit or bet using the machine, they will have to set limits for themselves. Some of the limits that have been discussed include the following:

* Session length – Defining the maximum time they want to spend gaming in one session, after which they have to take a break.
* Playing frequency – Defining how long breaks should be between each gambling session.
* Total bets – Defining the maximum amount of bets a person can make within a day before the limit is imposed on them.
* Time spent – Defining the maximum time a person can spend gambling in the span of 24 hours.

Each bettor using a cashless pokie will be required to set these self-exclusion limits before using the machine. The device will also prevent them from changing the limits should they want to gamble more. 

When a bettor sets their limits, they must wait seven days before changing them.

In the meantime, they will not be allowed to gamble more, make automatic top-ups, or add funds to their accounts when they spend their total deposited amount. 

Additional Limits

In addition to self-exclusion, the machines will also allow third-party exclusions, i.e., exclusions from a designated person or family member. All of this is done to keep people from developing a gambling problem. 

However, the limit’s effectiveness is yet to be tested. If all goes according to plan, the cashless pokies should be distributed across NSW by the end of 2024.

This will allow the testing to begin, with the hope that the entire state will implement cashless gaming by December 31st, 2028.

The Future of Cashless Pokies in Australia

Regarding the future of gambling in Australia, many plans are currently in the making. However, it looks like the most significant change will start in New South Wales. The NSW government already has a plan for the next 5 to 6 years.

The government intends to implement it after the state elections at the end of March 2023. 

Following the election, a 3-month trial period will begin and allow cashless pokies to be tested for effectiveness and efficiency.

Some cashless gaming machines have already been tested, but further tests on the cashless pokies are needed before they can be fully implemented. 

In April 2023, a transition task force will start working with local businesses to help with the transition. They will distribute the machines, educate local businesses on how they operate, and help small businesses find new revenue streams so they can continue working without difficulties.  

Creating a Cashless Pokie Landscape

Cashless pokies and cashless gaming, in general, should be able to keep people from getting carried away when taking part in such activities.

Seeing that there can be plenty of benefits, the NSW government is set on going through with its plan of creating a cashless pokie landscape in Australia.

With this new plan, the NSW Liberal and Nationals government has made a significant first step toward curbing the gambling problem in the state.

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