Suspicious pokie reports spike: regulator

Suspected money laundering through poker machines led to a big jump in reports last year, according to the federal government's financial intelligence agency.

Reports of possible suspicious activity or money laundering soared to more than 500 during just April and May last year, which was the yearly national average between 2016 and 2019.

Some 3000 reports of possible suspicious activity were made by the end of 2022, a spokesperson for the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) told AAP.

Figures from 2020 and 2021 were excluded because of widespread pandemic-related shutdowns in the sector.

The spike in reports came after the agency launched a campaign to educate pubs and clubs about money laundering last year.

"The campaign has resulted in a substantial increase in reporting to AUSTRAC," a spokesperson for the agency said.

It comes as calls to introduce a cashless gaming card for poker machines in NSW has dominated much of the political debate as the state election looms in March.

Last year, a damning report from the NSW Crime Commission found billions of dollars in dirty cash were being funnelled through pokies each year. It recommended removing cash from the mix to improve the situation.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has committed to introducing cashless gaming if he wins the election.

"There is a problem, we need to fix it," the premier told reporters on Tuesday.

"We'll protect jobs on the way through and make sure we don't have money laundering here in NSW.

"The proceeds of crime will not be flushed down pokie machines. And in addition to that, we'll stop and fix problem gambling in this state."

NSW Labor leader Chris Minns has stopped short of embracing cashless gaming, instead saying he wants a wider, voluntary trial of the scheme to prove it will not economically harm workers.

Mr Minns said the party would release a "comprehensive plan" to reform the state's gambling industry before the poll.

Venues that suspect money laundering must report it to AUSTRAC under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act and certain transactions also must be reported.

These suspicious matter reports are used by law enforcement and regulators for investigations.