fbpx

‘Area of concern’: Police commissioner backs cashless gaming card – Sydney Morning Herald

We’re sorry, this feature is currently unavailable. We’re working to restore it. Please try again later.
NSW Police Commissioner Karen Webb says the misuse of cash in the gambling system is a “hole that needs to be closed”, backing a Crime Commission push for cashless gaming cards to stop billions of dollars in dirty money flowing through poker machines.
Webb said most people used cards for daily transactions. “Everything is digital,” she told the Herald. “It’s a bit of an outlier that there is cash in that system when everything else is digital. It is an area of concern for us.
“If gambling is a mechanism, then it is probably a hole that needs to be closed.”
Police Commissioner Karen Webb.Credit:Rhett Wyman
Debate over the state’s lucrative gambling industry intensified in November when NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet brushed aside opposition from within his own government and vowed to turn the state’s 95,000 poker machines cashless.
The premier committed to implementing the cashless gaming cards following recommendations from a NSW Crime Commission inquiry, which found $95 billion flowed through the state’s poker machines in 2020-21.
It described NSW as “the gambling capital of Australia”, and said a cashless card would reduce money laundering by removing the anonymity of poker machine transactions and allowing them to be traced.
Webb also said new laws, to be introduced in February, which enable police to confiscate proceeds of crime and unexplained wealth would be an “important” weapon in the fight against money laundering.
Professor David Dixon, an expert in policing and regulation at the University of NSW, said cashless gaming cards were unlikely to help problem gamblers control their addiction, but would be effective in the fight against money laundering.
“What it’s really about is the tracking of proceeds of crime though gambling, and that is certainly something that’s worth doing,” he said. “You have this major industry which produces masses of revenue, which is used as a washing machine for illegally gained money.”
Perrottet has since made it his personal crusade to stare down scare campaigns against cashless cards and reform the gambling sector, which he has described as “taxing on the misery of others”.
The government is yet to outline a plan or timeline for implementation, but is already facing strong opposition from powerful lobby groups that claim a statewide rollout of cashless technology will be costly and could threaten the financial viability of pubs and clubs.
The initial proposal for a digital gambling card was pushed by Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello but thwarted by fierce industry opposition. He subsequently lost the portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle.
NSW voters overwhelmingly back a cashless gaming card to combat poker machine money laundering and addiction.
An exclusive survey conducted by Resolve Strategic for the Herald shows voters also have little faith in pubs and clubs to deal with problem gambling, with only 28 per cent confident the powerful sector is doing enough, and a hefty 47 per cent describing their efforts as poor.
Gambling reform advocates have lauded Perrottet for his commitment to tackling problem gambling and money laundering, but say meaningful change will only be possible with bipartisan support.
NSW Labor leader Chris Minns has said he is prepared to reform the lucrative gambling sector, but only after further trials to determine the impact on the industry.
“Because of the size and the scale of clubs and pubs in the NSW economy, we want to make sure … we’ve got an evidence base to make sure the reform actually hits the mark,” he said on Wednesday.
The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. Sign up here.
Copyright © 2022

source