Get ready for a shake up in NSW for the pokies industry.
Aussies are well known for their appetite for gambling, which has led to an outcry for policy reformation regarding how players can pull the handle at pokie machines. The dawn of cashless pokie machines is arriving, with many publicans anticipating the end of rivers of gold that they have become accustomed to.
Bracing for the massive disruption in gaming, some publicans have resigned to the fact that they will no longer be generating the profits of yesteryear (though they have done their best to lobby the government and opposition to stick to the status quo).
However, some publicans have long planned for this day to eventuate. None more so than Arthur Laundy, the owner of an empire of hotels and pubs worth $1.9 billion.
Laundy’s portfolio now reaches 88 with his two most recent additions – the Sydney’s Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel and Northies Hotel in Cronulla. Whilst pubs and hotels still generate enormous revenue from pokie machines, the emphasis is now turning towards entertainment and liquor.
NSW has long held the top spot for wagering. As a nation, Australians have averaged $800 per annum in pokie machines, with averages exceeding $1,000 in parts of NSW. With the introduction of cashless gaming, analysts have projected a fall in wagering of up to 25 per cent.
The momentum for cashless gaming coincides with the popularity of using PayID as a deposit method. With PayID interfacing to pokie digital wallets, transactions can be easily tracked and blocked if necessary. The use of PayID will also enable authorities to detect anti-money laundering activities.
Other forms of policy change have also been put forward by the two major parties. The Labor party has been less committed to change, arguing that a trial of cashless gaming is first needed to allow for evidence to be produced of its efficacy. The Liberal party, on the other hand, has committed to rolling out cashless gaming within five years, including a buy back scheme for pokie machines. This will cost the state $344 million in lost taxes and funding of the buy back.
If other countries are a guide as to the impact of cashless gaming, Norway has slot machine gambling reduced by 80 per cent. Norway introduced cashless gaming during the early 2000s removing the ability of pokie machines to accept notes and coins. No uptick was seen in other forms of betting.