Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
ABC News
ABC News

RSL Australia president supports NSW government's cashless poker machines push

The president of RSL Australia says he supports the NSW government's push for mandatory cashless poker machines, accusing the group that operates RSL clubs of giving the brand a bad name.

Greg Melick has told Radio National Breakfast he personally supports the Perrottet government's plan to mandate gaming cards, despite a campaign against it by the RSL and Services Clubs Association and Clubs NSW.

RSL Australia is a registered charity that supports veterans, while the RSL and Services Clubs Association runs the bricks and mortar clubs.

The two groups have a memorandum of understanding but are separated by legislation in NSW.

Mr Melick said he was unaware of the association's opposition to cashless gaming until recently but believes his members would support his view.

"I think it's sensible legislation and it's necessary," he said.

RSL Australia and the RSL and Services Clubs Association have disagreed on issues before, and fought several court battles over money. 

Mr Melick has threatened to split with the Association over its anti-gaming reform stance, accusing the body of drumming up "unfortunate publicity" beyond his control.

"If we can't force them to stick to certain guidelines and ethical practises, I would like to see them stop using the name," he said.

"If we can't reach some appropriate arrangement, we'd approach government to legislate to prevent them using the name."

He said pokies caused harm and aided money laundering, but there were no statistics available on the impact of gambling on returned veterans.

The Perrottet government wants to stop gamers from using cash at any of the 90,000 pokie machines across the state and force them to upload money onto a gaming card, in a bid to reduce harm from gambling.

Unions NSW leader Mark Morey has also thrown his union's support behind the government, putting him at odds with Labor leader Chris Minns months out from the election.

Mr Minns has defended his decision not to move straight to mandatory cashless gaming, citing concerns about job losses.

"Our position is we will look at cashless gaming as a trial, we will see whether it works," he said.

"We want to make sure we don't make a bad situation worse."

Mr Minns said the reason poker machines take cash rather than credit cards is to make sure gamblers have a visual representation of the amount of money they're spending.

"My concern is cashless gaming cards could — not necessarily will — lead to more gaming losses." 

Clubs NSW has launched a campaign, Gaming Reform the Right Way, inviting people to email their local MPs in opposition to the cashless card. 

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.