Initial Cashless Gaming Discussion

8 May 2019

Earlier this week team members from Clubs New Zealand were invited to attend the DIA’s preliminary discussion on cashless gaming.  Also, in attendance were representatives from Hospitality New Zealand, Manufacturers, Problem Gambling Foundation, Societies, GMANZ, Ministry of Health, AUT and the financial sector including the Reserve Bank.

The purpose of the meeting as put forward by the DIA was to establish a working group to discuss whether the New Zealand non-casino electronic gambling machine industry can adopt non-cash payments (i.e. ‘cashless’) as its main payment mechanism and how such a payment system might work.

The DIA was strong from the outset that they have no set solution in mind and wish to engage with stakeholders within the gambling system on whether and how cashless options might be adopted in New Zealand to maximise the opportunities and benefits they have identified while effectively addressing potential risks and harm.

The group quickly agreed that criteria or scope must be identified early in order to measure the pros and cons of any proposed cashless system.  Early criteria identified included;

  • The Class 4 fund raising model must be sustainable and fit for purpose,
  • Reduction in costs,
  • Minimises gambling harm,
  • Opportunities for crime minimised,
  • Evidence based,
  • Scalable and practicable.

The above criteria are not set in stone and will be refined and confirmed at a later date.

Very early in the discussion the question was asked “what is the problem we are trying to fix” and this turned out to be the crux of the discussion.    Any proposed change needs to be considered against its ability to minimise harm while at the same time ensuring the sustainability of the community funding model and the group simply did not have the information in front of them to be able to make any decisions on this basis.

The elephant in the room of course is what is any change to a cashless system going to cost and at this point in time nobody really has that answer.  Clubs New Zealand reiterated that it has the potential to be devastating to clubs and smaller pub venues.

We expect further information from this meeting in the coming weeks and will keep members update to date on developments, next steps and information as it comes to hand.

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