NSW’s First Cashless Gaming Trial Did Not Have a Significant Impact

The cashless gambling trial in New South Wales has already started but critics are not happy with the results. Initially launched at Wests New Lambton, a club in Newcastle’s Hunter region, the trial ran from October 2022 until June. Unfortunately, the statistics failed to impress the opponents of cashless gaming.

The new technology, which some argued would limit gambling-related fraud and would mitigate problem gambling, was installed on 144 machines across the venue. As a result, players were able to wager by transferring money directly from a digital wallet on their smartphones onto the machine. The technology also included a variety of safer gambling tools, such as size and play limits.

Following the trial, Liquor and Gaming NSW commissioned Professor Paul Delfabbro from the University of Adelaide to compile a report on the matter. As it turns out, the cashless gaming trial barely affected the behavior of gamblers, according to the responses of players.

Overall, more people reduced the amount they spent daily than those who increased it but the changes balanced out and did not significantly affect Wests New Lambton’s revenue. Additionally, there were players who were too accustomed to the old gambling methods and found themselves moving between machines and venues.  

The Sample Was Too Small to Make Conclusions

Carol Bennett, chief executive of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, argued that the trial at Wests New Lambton was just a probe rather than a serious attempt at affecting addiction rates. She explained that in order for the measure to truly work, a full-scale rollout would be needed. Additionally, cashless gaming should be made mandatory and should include binding and default limits, Bennet explained.

While the trial didn’t lead to a significant change, it demonstrated the general reliability of the technology. While a few issues were recorded, the cashless solution seemed to work relatively well.

Belinda Downes, another proponent of the gambling reforms, emphasized that the trial was more about testing the technology. Additionally, not enough people filled out the survey to allow NSW to make any reliable conclusions.

In any case, NSW is set to continue exploring the potential of cashless gaming. The Australian state agreed to expand the trial across 28 venues and 4,500 machines. The Independent Panel on Gaming Reform will report the findings of the trial in November.