Victoria’s gambling watchdog has demanded that gambling operator Tabcorp implement mandatory cashless payments when it comes to its electronic betting terminals (EBTs). According to Annette Kimmitt, CEO of the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), any machines that are more than five metres away from a given gambling establishment’s counter or that the staff cannot see due to obstruction will be subject to the cash payment ban.
As reported by The Guardian, instead of cash, vouchers will be what patrons will be able to use in order to gamble. As obtaining a voucher can only be done with ID Checks, this would make it impossible for clients to play without the staff confirming that they are old enough to gamble. At present, Tabcorp operates 1,800 EBTs across Victoria, and roughly 70% of this equipment will be affected.
The cash payment ban is the result of an investigation conducted by the VGCCC surrounding a series of gambling incidents involving a minor. The teen had allegedly been able to place bets with cash while playing Tabcorp-operated betting machines. In a case that led to Tabcorp facing 72 charges, the VGCCC accused the company of multiple instances of failure to prevent the victim from wagering. Tabcorp’s alleged actions are deemed to be in violation of the rules outlined in the Gambling Regulation Act 2003.
Tabcorp first faced charges in May 2023, when the company, along with Preston Hotel, had allegedly committed six breaches of Victorian gambling regulations by not stopping the victim from placing bets between May and September 2022. Four months later, Tabcorp was forced to answer for another 27 instances of gambling violations in 2022. The latest accusations, made this January, concern five breaches which occurred between September and October 2023.
The Minor Amassed Gambling Debts of $90,000
The situation has had dire consequences for the victim’s wellbeing and his family. His mother said that she had been forced to pay debts of $90,000 due to Tabcorp’s negligence. Moreover, the money that the teen, who had been only 16 at the time, had gambled, had been borrowed by sources that would eventually intimidate the family with threats. The victim’s mother also alleged that she had attempted to plead with the staff of the gambling establishments to not accept her son’s wagers, and that she had even shown employees a picture of him, yet the venues’ staff had continued to allow him to gamble without checking his ID.
In a statement issued to The Guardian, Kimmitt said that Tabcorp has until the end of January to comply with the watchdog’s orders and ensure that the vast majority of its machines will be unable to accept anything but vouchers as payments. Kimmitt deemed it “inexcusable” for the operator to have accepted the money of someone who was not old enough to gamble legally. She also emphasised on the importance and necessity of stricter measures that can keep children safe from problem gambling.
Kimmitt claimed that it is a casino’s employees that serve as “the first line of defence” when it comes to protecting children from gambling, and in addition to assisting in keeping minors safe, identity checks will also serve as a way to tackle money laundering. Should the Melbourne Magistrate court rule in VGCCC’s favour, Tabcorp will incur a fine of over $960,000.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.