Labor announces major gambling reforms

NSW Labor will conduct a 12-month trial of cashless gaming cards and ban political donations from clubs should it win the state election in March.

Signage advertising poker machines outside venues would also be banned under a Labor government and self-exclusion registers would be expanded to use facial recognition technology.

Opposition Leader Chris Minns announced the plans on Monday after weeks of back and forth with the government on the best way of tackling problem gambling and money laundering via pokies.

The state Labor leader has so far resisted Premier Dominic Perrottet's proposal to introduce cashless gaming cards, calling for more evidence of how the system would operate.

"I said from the outset this is complicated policy area and we needed an evidenced-based approach to make sure any measures we introduced would work and wouldn't have any unintended consequences," Mr Minns said.

On Monday, Mr Perrottet attacked former NSW Labor premier Bob Carr for putting pokies "on every corner" and said the coalition government was cleaning up his mess through its planned reforms.

If Labor wins the election a 12-month trial of the cards, beginning in July 2023, would be conducted in a limited number of venues involving at least 500 machines, across a mix of metro and regional areas.

The trial would be mandatory for those venues taking part and would be overseen by an independent panel, including representatives from industry, law enforcement, gambling and health experts, and academics.

Mr Minns said a $100 million fine paid by Star Casino would go towards reimbursing participating venues for loss of revenue during the trial.

The ban on the Labor party accepting donations from clubs with pokies is to take immediate effect from Monday, Mr Minns announced, and under a Labor government would become law.

"I want to make sure, particularly when we're doing this trial, the public doesn't believe that donations being made to political parties are tempering or influencing those decisions," he said.

Should it win the next election, Labor would also introduce cash feed-in limits of $500 on all new pokies from July 2023, down from the $5000 limit in place.

A Labor government would also aim to reduce the overall number of pokie machines in the state by increasing the forfeit ratio imposed when venues purchase pokie machines from other pubs and clubs to one in two.

Greens MP Cate Faehrmann said Labor's proposed trial was not necessary and was designed to make Labor look good and for the cashless gambling card to fail.

She said problem gamblers and money launderers would simply avoid venues taking part in the trial, resulting in a massive loss in revenue for participating businesses.

"The trial will show that those machines are going to be very bad for business ... very bad for jobs," Ms Faehrmann said.

"I think this is a proposal that has been worked out with Clubs NSW in mind. 'Let's put in place a trial in a handful of machines and let's make it not work'."

Gambling reform advocate Rev Stu Cameron from Wesley Mission said Labor's plan was a good start but there was still a long way to go towards properly reducing the harm caused to communities by pokies.

Rev Cameron said most of the policies announced by Labor were pointed in the right direction and called for a similar amount of detail to be released by the coalition.

"Everybody's talking about genuine gambling reform for the first time in a NSW election," he said.

"With this announcement, NSW Labor is off to a good start, but frankly, there's a long way to go."