In the Australian state of New South Wales and a proposal that would require local video poker machine players to utilize government-issued gambling cards over cash has reportedly been criticized by one of the region’s most prominent politicians.
According to a Wednesday report from The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, Michael Daley (pictured) led the state’s center-left opposition Labour political party for four months from November of 2018 and currently represents the Maroubra constituency in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. The 54-year-old purportedly warned that the video poker machine proposition could devastate area pubs and clubs currently at risk due to the impacts of the recent coronavirus pandemic.
The Sydney Morning Herald detailed that the cashless proposition would look to oblige punters wanting to enjoy video poker machine entertainment to first register and pre-load funds onto one of the cards, which would be managed in much the same way as those already utilized by the Opal public transport network. New South Wales is purportedly home to approximately 95,000 such units, which are colloquially known locally as ‘pokies,’ and proponents have argued that the planned system could also be electronically linked to the jurisdiction’s self-exclusion register for problem gamblers.
The cashless ‘pokies’ scheme was reportedly announced only a week after the center-right coalition government of New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian released draft legislation that would bring in a series of other new measures to help reduce gambling-related harm across ‘The Premier State’. Being promoted by the man with responsibility for gambling in Australia’s most populous state, Liberal Party politician Victor Dominello, this program purportedly contains a clause that would require local venues to use facial recognition technology so as to assist in the identification of problem gamblers.
However, the newspaper reported that Daley, who earlier held the state’s shadow portfolio for racing and gaming, declared that he is moreover worried about the ‘civil liberties aspects where the government is recording biometrics or tracking someone’s activities through a card’. Despite proclaiming that ‘no doubt there is a bi-partisan willingness to do something about problem gambling’, the father-of-four purportedly believes the government should instead be looking to save jobs.
Daly reportedly told The Sydney Morning Herald…
“But these recent announcements by Dominello reek of the greyhounds debacle where an entire industry was ambushed without consultation. Some of these measures could really devastate pubs and clubs at a time when their survival is under threat and protecting jobs is paramount.”