Victoria Orders Tabcorp to Make Electronic Betting Terminals Cashless
The Victoria Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCC) has taken action against Tabcorp following multiple incidents of underage gambling. Tabcorp has been ordered to make approximately 70% of its 1,800 electronic betting terminals (EBTs) in Victoria cashless. Starting late January, these EBTs will only accept vouchers as a form of payment. The ruling applies to all EBTs, except those within five meters and in the line of sight of the counter.
In order to access the cashless machines, players must purchase a voucher at the counter and undergo ID checks to ensure they are of legal age to gamble on EBTs. The ruling also mandates Tabcorp to implement an independent ‘mystery shopper’ program to ensure venues are appropriately checking IDs. Failure to comply with these requirements could result in penalties for Tabcorp, including having all EBTs in offending venues switched to vouchers for six months and terminating agreements with venues.
VGCC CEO Annette Kimmitt condemned the breaches, stating, “It is inexcusable to accept a bet from a minor and tougher actions are required to protect the community, especially children, from gambling harm.” Kimmitt emphasized the need for stronger identity checks to prevent minors from gambling and also to prevent money laundering.
The VGCC has already charged Tabcorp and nine venues over underage gambling, with the first case being heard in December. The charges include allowing a minor within a gaming machine area and failing to reasonably supervise EBTs. Tabcorp faces a total of 72 charges and could face a maximum collective fine of over $1.0m.
This crackdown by the VGCC is part of a larger effort to address rule breaches in the state. Other operators, such as Rumotel, operator of the Tower Hotel in Victoria, are also facing fines for allegedly breaching responsible gambling rules. This includes failing to ensure a responsible gambling officer was available at all times on the gaming floor and not properly maintaining a responsible gambling register.
The VGCC is actively monitoring these safeguards to reduce harm and is clamping down on rule-breakers in an effort to protect the community from gambling harm and underage gambling.