Labor urged to 'show courage' on pokies reform

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NSW Labor should show courage by embracing mandatory cashless gaming and world-leading gambling reforms, an influential crossbench MP says.

“We have a unique moment in time to progress meaningful gambling reform that also curbs money laundering,” MP for Sydney Alex Greenwich told AAP.

“I would really want to see the Labor Party show a bit more courage in that regard.”

With less than two weeks to go until polling day, NSW Labor reiterated it does not intend to change its policy, which supports a 12-month trial of the cashless system on 500 machines.

If returned, the Liberals would make cashless gaming mandatory by 2028, with a system allowing gamblers to choose their own self-imposed spending limits.

If Labor were to win the election, Mr Greenwich now believes he has the political and industry support to pass mandatory cashless gaming legislation without their support.

“I met with ClubsNSW last week and they made it clear to me that they support cashless gambling,” Mr Greenwich said.

“They understand this is the direction in that we’re going … and they want to be part of the discussion to achieve that.”

If Labor is to form government, he intends to work with the Liberal-National coalition, the Greens and his close allies, the Animal Justice Party, to pass legislation.

“It’s time for (Labor) to get on board so NSW can not only lead the nation but lead the world when it comes to gaming reform.”

A consensus had been reached that change was needed to tackle problem gambling in NSW, a Labor spokesman told AAP.

“This is now a debate about the best way to do that,” the spokesman said.

“We believe we have the better plan. Based on evidence.

“What happens at the next election is a matter for the people of NSW, not any one politician or political party.”

Asked to clarify its position on mandatory cashless gaming, ClubsNSW said it remained opposed to mandatory cashless gaming, referring to a statement released earlier this year.

“We are not convinced that an untested mandatory cashless card is the way to go,” ClubsNSW chairman George Peponis said at the time.

It cames after Fair Trading Minister Victor Dominello told the ABC’s Four Corners he lost his portfolio after supporting cashless gaming, following lobbying from the gambling industry.

However, Premier Dominic Perrottet said no industry influence had come into play during a 2021 cabinet reshuffle, which saw the portfolio handed to a Nationals MP.

“Clearly ClubsNSW disagrees with me in relation to pokie reforms, but I’m not here for ClubsNSW, I’m here to look after the people of our state,” the premier said on Monday.

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