Australia cashless gaming driven forward in Victoria Tabcorp ruling

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The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has ordered leading betting operator Tabcorp to accelerate adoption of cashless payments at most of its terminals.

Following ‘multiple incidents’ of a minor gambling using Tabcorp’s retail electronic betting terminals (EBTs), the VGCCC has told the operator that all machines that are not within five metres of or in line of sight of a betting shop counter must be made cashless.

This will mean that around 70% of 1,800 retail EBTs across the state of Victoria will transition to only accept vouchers. Bettors will have to purchase these vouchers at the counter, where they may be subject to age verification if they appear under 25 years old.

VGCCC CEO, Annette Kimmitt AM, said: “Venue staff are the first line of defence in protecting minors from gambling. We have taken decisive measures where they have failed to take their responsibilities seriously.”

In addition to adopting cashless payments across the majority of its terminals, Tabcorp has also been told to implement a ‘mystery shopper’ programme to ensure venues are checking ID.

The company – one of the largest betting firms in Australia, competing with the likes of Flutter Entertainment and Entain – could find itself subject to ‘an escalating series of penalties’, such as having EBTs switched off for six months, should it fail to comply.

Tabcorp is currently facing a potential maximum fine of AUS$969,236.40 as part of an investigation into a wider group of eight venues for allowing  minors to gamble at venues and failing to minotaur EBT usage. 

The investigation has seen Tabcorp face a total of 72 charges, whilst the the other firms in question include the Preston Hotel, which was fined AUS$$25,300 last month for allowing a minor to gamble using a Tabcorp EBT.

“These stronger identity checks not only represent an additional barrier to allowing children to gamble, but will also help to prevent money laundering,” Kimmitt continued.

“The VGCCC will actively monitor these safeguards to reduce harm, and venues should take note and act to uphold their duty to care for the community.”

Cashless payments in gaming have been accelerating in Australia of late, largely due to federal and state measures aimed at curbing problem gambling and ensuring greater player protection in the industry.

New South Wales (NSW), a neighbouring state to Victoria, has been particularly active in pushing ahead with cashless payments. In December 2023, the regional government announced a statewide trial in conjunction with four B2B gaming suppliers.

Meanwhile, payments changes for Australian gambling are also incoming at the federal level, as the government of PM Anthony Albanese set on implementing nationwide gambling reform. This has notably seen a ban on credit card payments for betting, with the exception of lotteries.