The government of New South Wales (NSW) has formed a new independent panel to deliver a “comprehensive roadmap on gambling reforms.”
The panel, consisting of 16 members, will be led by former NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing Commissioner, Michael Foggo, who will serve as Chairman.
Tasked with providing optimal oversight on gambling policies, the panel’s composition includes representatives from law enforcement, gambling and health sectors, academics, and industry representatives.
A key policy agenda, the NSW government aims to reduce gambling harm and criminal activity, including money laundering. Furthermore, NSW seeks guidance on issues related to gambling consumer safeguards, rights, and data protections.
Upon its launch, the panel’s initial task will be to “implement, evaluate, and review a cashless gaming trial in electronic gaming machines across NSW”.
The panel will consider the possible introduction of cashless gaming in hotels and clubs, assessing required infrastructure investments, impact on employment and industry, ways to further reduce gambling harm, and strategies for reducing money laundering risk.
State Premier Chris Minns stated: “We know the harmful effects of problem gaming on families, and I want to make sure we stamp out criminal activity in clubs.
“This panel is an important next step. The panel has a big job to do, but we have the balance right to ensure we have an evidence-based roadmap for future gaming reforms.”
Minns and the Labor Party have granted the panel a 12-month period to deliver plans on implementing a NSW-specific gambling reforms programme, expected by November 2024.
The roadmap will include recommendations on various aspects, including use of the AU$100m harm minimisation fund, expanding self-exclusion registers, the use of facial recognition technology, milestones for gaming reform, and data privacy and protections.
Leading the panel, Foggo commented: “The Independent Panel will get straight to work and will meet in the coming weeks to confirm the framework of the cashless gaming trial and recommend an appropriate mix of venues for the trial to the NSW Government.
“We must also ensure that there are appropriate mechanisms in place to stop the money laundering and criminal activity, as outlined in the NSW Crime Commission report.
“Harmful gambling not only impacts individuals but also their loved ones and the broader community, which is why it is so important that we work together to reduce gambling harm.”
NSW will revise its state gambling laws, as calls grow for the federal government to tighten rules on gambling advertising and safer gambling duties.
August will see the launch of ‘BetStop’ Australian gambling’s new player self-exclusion register that will function across all six federal states – operated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).