Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders says the coalition's cashless pokies proposal is a "sensible one" which will help tackle problem gambling in the region while protecting local venues.
"We've always said our response to the Crime Commissioner's report had to be a sensible one - and that's where we've landed," he told the Daily Liberal.
The policy reform package - which the coalition promise to bring in later this year should they be successful at the March 25 state election - would see every poker machine in NSW be made cashless by December 2028.
"It's a comprehensive plan to tackle the issues identified by the Crime Commission and that provides industry the time, certainty and support to plan for the future," said NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet.
"We address the number one recommendation from the Crime Commission and we will end money laundering in pubs and clubs, while protecting jobs and supporting communities.
We will also ensure people using poker machines receive more support, if they want it, to deal with problem gambling."
Under the coalition's plan, all new machines purchased must be cashless, there will be an optional buy-back scheme for cash pokies, there will be mandatory self-imposed limits on gaming cards and cooling-off periods and a prohibition on the use of 'VIP Lounge' signage and political donations from pubs and clubs.
The proposal comes in response to a NSW Crime Commission report into money laundering in electronic gaming machines.
Leading charities and anti-gambling advocates have also been calling for reform in an effort to curb problem gambling.
In the past calendar year, Lifeline Central West's counsellors report having "just shy of 2,700" interactions with people concerned about problem gambling - a large percentage of these are people who are addicted to poker machines.
"They're designed to create these neurological pathways in people's brains around the whole reward system," said Lifeline Central West CEO, Stephanie Robinson.
"The sounds, the bright lights, the noises - we're all addicted to that hit of dopamine."
However, some in the hospitality industry are concerned the move to cashless machines would lead to a loss of revenue and job losses for regional pubs and clubs.
According to the latest data published by Liquor and Gaming NSW, there are currently 408 gaming machines across nine clubs in the Dubbo local government area. Thirteen hotels in the LGA also have poker machines, with 245 in total.
Mr Saunders said the coalition's plan would support venues in regional areas throughout the transition so that no jobs are lost and no community groups lose out on funding as a result of the change.
"I know how important pubs and clubs are in our regional communities - and nothing changes overnight," said Mr Saunders.
"We also know change isn't easy, but we will work side by side with venues to roll out these reforms and to ensure they have the support they need.
We'll deliver support for regional venues to make the change and to ensure no venue, no matter how small, is left behind."
To support the transition, a regional fund of $40 million will also be available for pubs and clubs to order cashless technology.
Small venues will be able to apply for a one-off diversification grant of up to $50,000 to support their pursuit of new revenue streams, for example live music, refurbished bowling greens or improved kitchen facilities.
And, a new community grant program will also be available to cover the cost of all non-tax deductible donations pubs and clubs make to their communities, once they have confirmed an order for cashless technology
"This is not a set and forget plan. We will conduct extensive and ongoing consultation with experts, industry bodies and the community to get this roadmap right," said Mr Saunders.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: