The attempts to innovate the gambling industry never cease and the most recent case is the attempt of the Victorian Government in Australia to introduce cash-free pokies machines in the state suburb areas. However, the opposition has described the process of introducing the change as “sneaky”, as well as detrimental for problem players.
The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation has recently proposed a change. A large number of pokies located in the suburban area of Victoria could be enabled with cashless play, which will allegedly help the problems the industry is currently facing, such as problem gambling and addiction to pokies. A system based on tickets will give the players the chance to load money onto barcoded paper and be more mobile in their gameplay. They will be able to move to different pokies machines and eventually amass or lose a lot of money on them. This is what is most concerning to the anti-gambling groups, which never stop warning the officials about the after-effects of their decisions.
The not-for-profit advocacy group Alliance for Gambling Reform is outraged by the way this gambling reform is being introduced to the wide audience. Tim Costello, an anti-gambling advocate, stated that the government is quietly trying to pass the changes regarding pokies machines and the whole process is kept very much on the low. According to him, innovations like this should be made public and discussed with the people who will ultimately be affected by them. According to the website, where people first found out about the major change, the closing date for comment is 1st September 2017, which leaves the industry with less than a month to take measures regarding the situation.
There are concerns that the new ticket system will enable the players with the opportunity to bypass the $200 EFTPOS limits which are established at casino venues. Also, very few of them will actually cash in their tickets and lose any profit. This will also increase losses, which then is expected to lead to other gambling-related issues, which also affect the people around the casino players. Mark Zirnsak, the spokesperson for the Victorian InerChurch Gambling Taskforce, stated that the change will prove to be detrimental to people with problem gambling behavior in the state of Victoria.
Only for the last financial year, players based in Melbourne have invested about A$2.6 billion in slot machines, while losses have increased in the outer suburbs including City of Casey, Dandenong, Whittlesea, Hume, and Geelong, which only comes to show the level of interest towards gambling in Australia. The government also proposed overhauling taxes from owners of pokies machines, which will oblige the high-earning gaming machines located in pubs, clubs, and hotels to be taxed higher under a new pricing system.