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Newcastle Herald
Newcastle Herald
Michael Parris

Pressure on Minns over gambling card

Chris Minns in Newcastle on Monday. The Labor leader has not committed to introducing cashless gaming cards in clubs and pubs. Picture by Marina Neil

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann says the government and opposition have a "unique" chance to stand up to the clubs industry over cashless gambling cards.

Mr Faehrmann used a media conference in Newcastle on Friday to call on Labor leader Chris Minns to back the gambling reform.

A NSW Crime Commission report last week recommended introducing the cashless cards after finding a significant share of pokie revenue was linked to crime and problem gamblers.

Premier Dominic Perrottet committed on Thursday to bringing cashless cards to pubs and clubs, but Deputy Premier Paul Toole has rejected the move, arguing the "technology is not there".

Mr Minns said on Thursday that Labor was happy to talk with the government about gambling reform but would not commit to introducing cashless cards.

"You have got an industry that says they don't have the resources to roll out the technology immediately to within a truncated timeframe," he said on Thursday.

"You've got a report from the Victorian [Responsible] Gambling Foundation that indicates it may induce demand when it comes to problem gambling as a result of there not being a sense of how much you are losing."

Ms Faehrmann said the club industry had donated to both parties and wielded "quite a bit of influence", a view Mr Minns rejects.

"Clubs NSW is working the phones like you would not believe to Dominic Perrottet and Chris Minns telling them that, if they back a cashless gambling card, they will campaign viciously against them at the election," she said. "It looks like Chris Minns is not standing up to the might of Clubs NSW.

"We are in a unique moment. Dominic Perrottet has said he will look at a cashless card. If Chris Minns came out today and said he would, too, that would neutralise any threats by Clubs NSW."

A Clubs NSW spokesperson said the industry group was entitled to ask where political parties stood on cashless gambling cards and to be consulted.

"It is extraordinary to think that Cate Faehrmann believes politicians should be making decisions in a bubble," the spokesperson said.

"Clubs have nearly 7 million members and more than 53,000 employees across the state that they need to consider. On this issue, Newcastle does not need to be dictated to by Newtown."

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