In an effort to combat problem gambling and money laundering, Wests Newcastle will trial Aristocrat Gaming’s cashless payment technology at its New Lambton venue in September. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Must link digital wallet to bank
The first trial of entirely cashless video gambling machines in New South Wales, Australia (NSW) is set to go live in September. Liquor and Gaming NSW announced on Monday that Wests Newcastle will host the test run at its New Lambton location using cashless technology provided by Aristocrat Gaming. All club services, not just gaming machines, will use cashless payments.
a powerful new suite of responsible digital tools will empower our members”
“A powerful new suite of responsible digital tools will empower our members and allow them to set limits, speak to a staff member, or even exclude themselves from the club,” said CEO of Wests Newcastle Phil Gardner in Monday’s press release.
During the trial, customers will have to show proof of identity and link their digital wallet to an Australian bank account. Thus, it sounds like visitors from out of the country will not be able to participate, at least for now.
Using technology to tackle problem gambling
One of the primary reasons for the cashless gaming implementation is customer safety. Gardner mentioned the benefits to customer safety above; the new system allows people to track their own play and set betting and time limits for themselves so that they don’t overdo it.
Of course, there is the risk that casual players who just visit Wests Newcastle locations occasionally could be put out by this, since they need to provide ID and link a bank account. CEO and Chief Transformation Office of Aristocrat Gaming Mitchell Bowen is well aware of the concern, but believes his company’s technology options “enhance customer choice and have the potential to help reduce problem gambling without unduly impacting choice and amenity for the majority of recreational players.”
He added that the offering will “help further empower patrons to manage their play.”
Gardener also said that on the whole, cashless payments should prove more convenient than traditional payment options, as: “The ability for our members to use their own mobile wallet to pay for a meal, membership and gaming is something our industry hasn’t seen before.”
Fighting money laundering
The other big issue that cashless gaming looks to address is crime prevention and more specifically money laundering.
NSW Minister for Digital and Customer Service Victor Dominello said that it “will help us combat the twin sins of money laundering and problem gambling, addressing the key concerns of the Bergin Inquiry.”
extensive evidence of money laundering connected to high roller programs
The Bergin Inquiry (named after NSW Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority Commissioner Patricia Bergin) was the end result of a year-long investigation into Crown Resorts. It found extensive evidence of money laundering connected to high roller programs at the Crown Melbourne and Crown Perth casinos and links between the company’s junkets and organized crime. The February report deemed Crown Resorts unsuitable to hold a gaming license, putting a damper on the opening of the company’s AU$2.2bn (US$1.7bn) Sydney resort earlier this year.
Less than two weeks ago, Crown said it would end junkets and would go to a cashless payment system to help weed out money laundering. Because a cashless payment system can track all spending and game play, it can flag for any possible warning signs of money laundering, in addition to individual problem gambling.