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Cashless pokie trial flush with club and pub volunteers

Paul Jeffers/AAP PHOTOS

A cashless gaming trial set to roll out in venues across NSW could involve 10 times as many poker machines as initially promised.

But critics say the state government has been too slow to introduce the reform and an influx of participants might further delay a trial as punters continue to lose billions to the machines each year,

An independent panel overseeing the gaming reform says it is pleased with the flurry of applications from clubs, hotels and technology providers wanting to take part.

The trial could involve as many as 5909 machines, substantially more than the 500 initially proposed by Premier Chris Minns earlier this year.

Pubs and clubs in metropolitan and regional NSW, including the state's second-biggest gaming club West HQ, in the western Sydney suburb of Rooty Hill, applied to take part.

Thirty venues across as many metropolitan local government areas pledged 4476 gaming machines, while 12 regional venues put forward 1433 gaming machines.

The trial formed part of the gambling reform package Labor took to the March election, when it was criticised for failing to match the former coalition government's promise to introduce mandatory cashless gaming cards statewide.

Opposition gaming spokesman Kevin Anderson accused Labor of moving too slow on the reform, saying the influx of venues signing up for the trial showed the industry was ready to tackle the issue.

"What I've heard loud and clear from the hospitality industry is that they are ready for cashless gaming, but they need certainty, support and leadership from the government," he said on Friday.

Alliance for Gambling Reform chief executive Carol Bennett said expanding the trial would lead to more delays in its completion, stalling a critical overhaul of the sector.

"Even when it eventually starts it will be so dominated by industry input that it will add no value whatsoever," she said.

A 16-member panel of police, industry representatives and health experts will supervise the program before recommending reforms.

Chaired by former liquor and gaming commissioner Michael Foggo, the panel will decide which clubs and pubs will participate in the trial and how many machines will be involved.

Venues and technology providers will be finalised over the next month, with a report due to be handed to the government by November 2024.

A cash feed-in limit of $500 on new machines came into effect in July as part of changes designed to help curb problem gambling and money laundering.

More than 80,000 poker machines operate in NSW, generating profits of more than $8 billion in the year to June.