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The NSW Government is rolling out its own trial on 4500 machines across 28 venues (Bigstock)

Most people who signed up for a trial of cashless gambling at a Newcastle venue rarely used the technology, preferring to gamble with cash or prepaid tickets and using their physical loyalty cards. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

The evaluation of a pilot study into a cashless gambling technology designed by poker machine manufacturer Aristocrat found fewer than 20 of the 260 participants used the new system all the time, citing privacy concerns, lack of incentive, or not being able to use their preferred machine.

Cashless gaming was a key recommendation of an inquiry by the New South Wales Crime Commission into money laundering in pubs and clubs which found billions of dollars in dirty money was being ploughed through the state’s poker machines.

The Wests Newcastle trial, conducted between October 2022 and June 2023 and evaluated by University of Adelaide gambling researcher Paul Delfabbro, resulted from an invitation by the NSW Government to gambling machine manufacturers to test out cashless gambling technology.

Aristocrat developed a smartphone app that accepted banking funds, which were transferred into a digital wallet and interfaced with poker machines through Bluetooth technology. The app included voluntary responsible gambling features such as limit-setting and allowed players to accrue loyalty points using their physical cards simultaneously.

About 70 per cent of participants reported using the technology some or half the time.

“The trial … highlighted the challenge of running trials in contexts where people have access to another legacy system and where they have opportunities to gamble on trial machines, but also others located at the same, or different, venues,” the evaluation reported.

“The most common reason for not using it appeared to be general satisfaction with the default system.”

The NSW Government is rolling out its own trial on 4500 machines across 28 venues to test whether cashless gambling would be feasible “without unduly impacting the industry, while also minimising gambling harm and money laundering risks.” 


The crime commission demanded action. Gamblers called their bluff (By Harriet Alexander, Sydney Morning Herald)


Wests Newcastle cashless gaming trial report finds little change to pokies players’ behaviour (ABC News)