Nearly one in every two poker machines in Australia will become cashless under a major "social reform" lauded by anti-gambling advocates.
Describing it as "the largest social community and law enforcement reform in our state's history" that would "save lives", NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet on Monday unveiled his $344 million answer to a damning NSW Crime Commission report that shed a light on how much dirty money was being flushed through pokies.
Cashless gaming will begin on 2000 machines this year, rolling out to all machines by the end of 2028.
All new cash-enabled machines from July will have $500 feed-in limits and players will be tied to a single bank account.
The package also has pre-commitment limits, a ban on "VIP Lounge" signs and a promise of a statewide exclusion register for players and their families.
Anti-pokies advocate Tim Costello backed the proposal.
"It isn't perfect, but it is pretty damn good," he said on Monday.
"(Setting a limit helps) people who lose all track of time when they're in front of pokies with their psychologically addictive features."
The package was the "biggest social reform" he had seen in his 25 years advocating for change and came after the industry successfully destroyed Julia Gillard's reform attempt in 2012.
But he lamented the generous compensation package would not help the 44 per cent of pubs and 20 per cent of clubs whose "virtuous" position was life without pokies.
Liberal-run Tasmania was also moving to cashless gaming, putting the ball in Labor premiers' courts to implement their own "radical social reform" of the gaming industry, Wesley Mission chief executive Stu Cameron said.
"Harm is happening right across the country," he told reporters.
"There's an opportunity for the prime minister to join with the other premiers ... and bring some real moral leadership ... (and) have an impact on literally millions of Australians."
The NSW Crime Commission said it welcomed the plan to implement all eight of its October report's recommendations, particularly closing the "significant legal loophole" of criminals gambling in cash.
"Drug dealers don't bank their money because they are then exposed to law enforcement seizing it," Commissioner Michael Barnes said.
A transition taskforce made up of regulators, police, the privacy commissioner and industry will help guide the reform, with a status update every six months.
Pubs and clubs will be incentivised to diversify away from pokies with no-interest loans and one-off grants of $50,000 to invest in new income streams such as live music, food and bowling greens.
Extra money will be set aside for regional and small venues.
ClubsNSW, which represents the registered clubs operating 64,000 pokies statewide, raised concern about the "significant costs and technical challenges" of turning pokies cashless.
"We're particularly concerned about the implications for small, regional clubs and the impact this will have on jobs across the industry," ClubsNSW said.
The package passed cabinet on Sunday night despite earlier splits on the cashless gaming mandate inside the government.
"It will save lives. It will protect jobs and ensure that our communities across NSW are stronger now and into the future," Mr Perrottet said on Monday.
"The time for trials is over."
Large operators can't access grants or loans but can join in the government-funded scheme to buy back 2000 machines.
Labor backed that measure, adding to its plan to cull 7500 machines over five years.
But it criticised the lack of a daily spending cap and doubled down on its plan to trial cashless gaming before imposing a wide mandate.
Leader Chris Minns said voters would be able to choose between the two sides' plans at the March election.
"(Our plan) is responsible, I do believe it's comprehensive it will be evidence-based and that's what we're taking to the people in NSW," he said on Monday.
Independent crossbenchers Alex Greenwich and Greg Piper said they would not support a minority government that wasn't committed to cashless gaming.
Australian Associated Press