The NSW Crime Commission or NSWCC for short has issued a list of eight recommendations that the regulator sees as pertinent to better regulating the gambling industry in the country. Among them are the mandatory use of cashless gaming cards and improved data collection mechanisms.
Cashless Gaming and Data to Help Tackle Crime
Cashless gaming cards have been a hot-button topic for many businesses and lawmakers, and some consumers as well. The idea of such a mechanism is good, as it means that regulators will be able to sweep in and collect data about all financial transfers, allowing them to monitor gambling on-site across the state’s authorized venues.
It’s also a guarantee that self-excluded and vulnerable gamblers are being helped on time. The latest recommendation follows two major events in the state, including the Star Entertainment Group and Crown Resorts being found as unsuitable to hold their licenses.
However, NSW crime commissioner Michael Barnes is not convinced that enough is being done to clean up the gambling industry. Barnes outlined the nature of current operations as his specialized position allowed him to see it:
At the moment serious offenders can enter NSW pubs and clubs, sit down next to patrons in gaming rooms, and openly feed large sums of cash from their crimes into poker machines with no real fear of detection.
Barnes said that it was impossible at the time to accurately collect and track data. Improving data collection, however, could help the commission to better identify criminal activity that takes place at electronic gaming machines. Barnes said that there are two types of schemes that are currently running at EGMs across the state.
Basically, one of the schemes sees criminals load the EGMs with money to then withdraw them and obfuscate the origin of the funds. The other is to use “dirty cash” and gamble at the machines. Either way, Barnes cautioned that both activities were happening and that the commission could use additional legislative help to counteract it.
EGMs Are Used by Bad Actors All the Time
On the plus side, cleaning money via EGMs wasn’t too popular as it was slow. Nevertheless, large money of dirty cash was gambled at various pubs and clubs in New South Wales with owners or even the people playing there being none the wiser about the activities taking place next to them. Barnes blasted the state of affairs and said that this could no longer continue.
It is a deeply concerning peculiarity that in the largely cashless digital economy in which we live that gambling in NSW pubs and clubs remains a $95-billion a year information black hole. Clearly, that cannot be allowed to continue.
Therefore, the commission has issued a number of recommendations that pertain to AML/CTF training and education in the sector, the exclusion of criminals from entering pubs and clubs, and playing at EGMs, and a number of other proposals. Cashless gaming is definitely a great start. According to Barnes, these basic reforms will already be the basis of meaningful and impactful changes to the sector.
The NSWCC conducted its investigation into the EGMs sector in collaboration with a number of other regulators, including the NSW ILGA, AUSTRAC and the ACIC.
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