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Cashless cards punish gamblers: Clubs NSW

The gaming industry says introducing cashless cards in NSW would punish punters. (Paul Jeffers/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Gaming industry body Clubs NSW has slammed moves towards cashless cards supported by NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, saying it punishes punters.

The premier repeated his promise to crack down on money laundering in the gaming sector, saying he would "work with, not against" industry representatives this week to press them on introducing cashless gaming cards.

"We can't sit idly by. Action needs to be taken... We need to move to a cashless system," Mr Perrottet told reporters on Monday.

However, Clubs NSW head Josh Landis lambasted the cashless system proposal as a short-sighted measure that does not tackle the root cause of criminal enterprises.

"What's happening is criminals are spending the proceeds of crime (on the pokies). Guess what? They spend on everything from tattoos, and handbags to jewellery and jetskis," he told AAP on Monday.

"They spend it on food and groceries. So do we say that Coles and Woolworths are the recipients of the proceeds of crime? Of course not.

"The (NSW) Crime Commission has recommended a solution that only applies to pokie machines but have done nothing to resolve the broader issue of criminals spending money."

The momentum for a cashless card comes after the commission found "billions of dollars of 'dirty' cash" were being funnelled through poker machines in pubs and clubs every year.

The report revealed a significant amount of the $95 billion put into pokies every year was the proceeds of crime.

While few were using machines to launder money, many criminals were gambling away their crime profits.

Some venues weren't doing enough to stop it from happening, the report found.

The report said money laundering remains an endemic part of the industry because pokies "primarily accept cash and because cash continues to be the primary method by which criminals obtain wealth from dealing in illicit commodities".

Mr Perrottet said the cards would reduce crime as well as harm to problem gamblers.

He was keen "to stop money laundering occurring in poker machines and ensuring that problem gamblers are not throwing their life savings down a pokie machine".

He said he would push for a cashless system despite his Nationals counterpart's reluctance.

Three independent MPs also want a special commission of inquiry into the clubs and pubs industry.

But Mr Landis said everyday punters would be made to feel like "criminals" if a cashless card is introduced.

"You would solve crime in a heartbeat by locking everyone in their homes but we don't allow it because we're not a police state," he explained," he told AAP.

"In the same way, you don't have restrictions on poker machines that treat everyone like they are criminals to try and stop criminals spending money.

"We have to have measures which are proportionate, affordable, sensible and target those who the bad guys."

Mr Landis said Clubs NSW was concerned the impact of a cashless card would have on "ordinary gamblers" who only spend a limited amount of cash.

"Just because it's not how you choose to spend your money, it doesn't mean that they (gamblers) are somehow stupid for choosing to play a poker machine," he said.

The average poker machine in NSW is making 25 per cent more than it did three years ago, with some machines raking in $8700 a week according to new figures published by the gaming regulator.

An analysis of half-yearly data shows pokies profits in pubs and clubs have jumped 20 per cent since early 2019.

That's despite the number of machines statewide falling five per cent to 91,420 by June 2022.

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