By Grant Jones, editor of Club Management

The NSW Government has appointed former NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing Commissioner Michael Foggo to chair the panel that will oversee the cashless gaming trial and recommend an implementation roadmap for gaming reforms in NSW.

Premier Chris Minns said: “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.”

The new panel will consist of 16 members, with three independent Executive Committee members with extensive experience in government-led inquiries and committees – including Foggo, former Labor Senator Ursula Stephens and former MLC and Deputy Leader of the NSW Nationals, Niall Blair.

Representing the state’s pubs on the panel will be AHA NSW CEO John Whelan.

“The AHA NSW and our 2000 member hotels will be represented on this important panel by CEO John Whelan. We look forward to working constructively with the other panel members,” an AHA NSW spokesperson said.

ClubsNSW will also be represented on the panel.

“ClubsNSW welcomes the opportunity to participate in the NSW Government’s independent panel for gaming reform,” the representative body said in a statement.

“We look forward to working constructively with fellow industry representatives and experts to further protect problem gamblers and patrons more broadly, while ensuring the long-term viability of not-for-profit community clubs.”

The panel will also include two other industry representatives, four harm minimisation representatives, two academics with relevant expertise, one Cyber Security NSW representative, one NSW Police representative and one United Workers Union representative.

NSW Minister for Gaming & Racing David Harris said: “We have taken the time to get the right people around the table to ensure we get the best possible trial that will protect consumers and provide confidence in cashless gaming.”

The panel, chaired by Foggo, will also have the power to seek input from a wide range of external experts in the field and government bodies such as the NSW Crime Commission, NSW Information and Privacy Commission and AUSTRAC.

“Throughout my career I have taken a keen interest in the field of gaming reform and am pleased to once again be working alongside the NSW Government on this important initiative,” Michael Foggo said.

“We must also ensure that there are appropriate mechanisms in place to stop the money laundering and criminal activity associated as outlined in the NSW Crime Commission report.

“We want to make sure we get the balance right and consider all relevant factors so that any future reforms implemented by the NSW Government, work.

“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.”

The panel will establish, implement, evaluate and review the trial of cashless gaming in electronic gaming machines across NSW. This will include mandating certain requirements to participate in the trial. The NSW Government will make this the panel’s first priority. At the conclusion of the trial, the independent panel will deliver its report, findings and recommendations to the NSW Government.

The panel will develop recommendations for the NSW Government to consider in relation to the possible introduction of cashless gaming in hotels and clubs, taking into consideration infrastructure investments required, impact on employment and industry, options to further reduce gambling harm, and the impact on reducing the risk of money laundering.

Finally, the panel will provide additional advice to Government in the form of a gaming reform implementation roadmap by November 2024. This will include making recommendations to the Minns Government on:

  • Use of the $100 million harm minimisation fund;
  • Expanding the self-exclusion register to the whole state and providing for third-party exclusions;
  • The use of facial recognition technology to support the enhanced exclusions schemes;
  • Milestones for the possible delivery of gaming reform in all NSW hotels and clubs;
  • and technical and system standards and privacy and data protections that should be adopted by Government.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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