The State’s first cashless gaming trial will begin today at Wests Newcastle with up to 200 members set to use ground-breaking digital technology which includes features to reduce risks of gambling harm and to protect against money laundering.
Minister for Hospitality and Racing Kevin Anderson said the three-month trial will test how the technology operates in real-life conditions and its potential benefits for venues and patrons.
“The trial is part of an exciting new era where innovations such as digital wallets offer customers greater convenience and control over their spending and help venues and authorities identify suspected cases of money laundering,” Mr Anderson said.
“Technology developed by Aristocrat Gaming has been installed on 36 of the Wests club’s gaming machines using Bluetooth to connect patrons’ mobile phones to machines. The technology will allow for a Bluetooth connection between a patron’s mobile phone and the machine. This will let patrons transfer money directly from the gaming wallet on their phone onto the machine.
“The digital wallet can be used to fund gaming machine play and players can set spending or time limits, access real-time spending data, take a break or self-exclude from gambling and access other responsible gambling tools and services. Patrons cannot load funds into the gaming wallet from the gaming floor.
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“The digital wallet requires a person’s identity to be confirmed before they can play and they are linked to that person’s debit card or bank account which means authorities can identify where those funds have come from if needed.”
Examples of limits that can be set using the technology include:
- Session length: maximum duration for a continuous gaming session
- Frequency of play: maximum number of visits to a venue in a specified period
- Amount spent: total net expenditure in a given period
- Total bets: maximum total bets within a given period
Users can choose which of these limits to activate and can choose multiple limits which cannot then be altered for 24 hours.
Managing Director Aristocrat Gaming APAC David Ronson said the investment to bring forward and trial cashless payment solutions, through digital wallet technology, and deliver a complete digital experience for patrons is part of Aristocrat’s longstanding commitment to innovation and supporting its customers.
“We’re proud to have proposed this trial, as we believe enabling cashless electronic gaming machine play payment solutions through patron’s mobile phones, is an innovation that can help enhance the long-term sustainability and vibrancy of our industry,” Mr Ronson said.
“Our PRIME Wallet solution offers patrons additional voluntary responsible gameplay tools, developed in consultation with customers, to help further empower patrons to actively manage their play in ways that suit them.”
CEO of The Wests Group Australia Phil Gardner said the initiative is designed to enhance the patron experience and introduce a new level of convenience and safety.
“This trial builds on our long-standing commitment to patron choice, and welfare. We know many of our patrons want the convenience of digital payments, which is part of this trial. The trial also allows us to offer a powerful new suite of digital tools to empower our members and allow them to set limits, speak to a staff member, or even exclude themselves from the club if they choose.”
Mr Anderson said the Government has approved three other gaming manufacturers to conduct similar trials, IGT, Utopia Gaming and Scientific Games, with another application currently being assessed.
“The trials will explore different technologies and solutions to enable cashless gaming play in NSW, and trial important harm minimisation measures which will help individuals to take greater control of their gambling,” Mr Anderson said.