What is Cashless Gambling? | Betsquare

Article by Simon Day
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Last Updated: Apr 2nd, 2024 Share On Your Network:

The Australian gambling industry continues to find new ways to minimise barriers to entry for legal players. Alongside its quest to address the issue of responsible gambling, which saw credit cards and other credit-based payment methods prohibited by land-based and online casino operators, as well as cryptocurrency gambling, the sector is taking steps to make gaming more frictionless.

The concept of gambling without cash was introduced in Victoria back in 2019 as a means of improving the anti-money laundering measures of land-based casino operators. Since then, cashless gambling has been rolled out across all other Australian states and territories. 

In New South Wales, a cashless gambling trial has been expanded this year to include over 4,500 land-based pokies of the 86,872 pokie machines operating across the state.

Cashless Gambling – What Is It?

Cashless payment methods are on the rise in all sectors. According to the IAGA, 84% of all transactions in China and 72% of all transactions in the US were cashless in 2020. So, what is cashless gambling? Put simply, it allows players to place wagers on pokie machines and other gambling products without needing physical fiat currency.

Can you gamble without cash in all land-based casinos across Australia? It’s increasingly heading that way. Whether it’s pokies, video poker, virtual blackjack, or keno games, gambling without cash is helping casino venues legitimise their cash flow.

That’s because cashless gambling is designed to be linked to a bettor’s personal ID. It makes it much harder for money to be laundered through pokie machines, as it must be cashed out as kosher winnings.

Mandatory cashless gambling mechanisms have been recommended for brick-and-mortar casino venues in Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria. Meanwhile, New South Wales and Tasmania governments have taken things a step further, confirming cashless gambling will be compulsory across all gaming machine venues and casinos.

A Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation review in December 2021 revealed the potential for cashless gambling to increase bettor expenditure. This is because betting ‘virtually’ removes the pain of payment, which is thought to be an emotional mechanism that regulates wagering.

Fortunately, the ‘pre-commitment technology’ requested by the Productivity Commission in 2010, which aims to encourage users to set time and monetary limits on their gambling, fits seamlessly with cashless gambling solutions.

Types of Cashless Gambling

At the time of writing, there are two methods of cashless gambling that Australians can utilise – card-based cashless gambling and ticket-in ticket-out methods. Below, we’ll explain the differences between the two and how they work in practice.

Card-Based Cashless Gambling (CBC)

A card-based cashless gambling mechanism results in bettors receiving a card that must be swiped or entered whenever they wish to place a bet on a machine.

These cards are typically preloaded with betting funds from a bank account or e-wallet, with every bet placed deducted from the available balance on the card.

Ticket-In Ticket-Out (TITO)

The alternative cashless gambling method is TITO. Using this system, bettors must insert a ticket into the game machine with the cash equivalent amount displayed on the ticket. 

If they wish to cash out their money in the machine, they must print out a new ticket, which can be inserted into other machines to play with later. These tickets can also be redeemed for cash at automated kiosks. This system has been utilised in the land-based casino resorts of Las Vegas for several years now.

The State of Cashless Gambling in Australia

In Tasmania, there will be a pre-commitment universally applied to cashless gambling from 2024 and beyond. Default betting limits of $100 per day, $500 per month and $5,000 per year will be applied. 

These limits can be raised upon request to $500 per day and $5,000 per month, although the $5,000 annual limit is hard unless individuals can prove they can afford to wager more.

By December 2025, Victoria will also be enforcing pre-commitment limits for its pokie machines.

Will cashless gambling in Australia catch on? We round up the pros and cons of this system to help you make up your own mind.

The Pros of Cashless Gambling

  • It helps to limit the threat of casino resorts being used for money laundering purposes.
  • Players only need to have minimal interaction with casino staff – potentially reducing casino overheads.
  • Every dollar spent is 100% traceable to a bettor’s unique ID.
  • Bettors no longer need to carry cash on them to enter and play at their favourite casinos.

The Cons of Cashless Gambling

  • The lack of ‘payment pain’ makes it harder to regulate a bettor’s spending and keep track of betting budgets.
  • Bettors may have to provide proof of income if they wish to wager above the daily, monthly or annual limits set by the state.

Final Thoughts

Our immediate reaction to cashless gambling measures in Australia is that it won’t be a silver bullet to reducing gambling harms. However, the pre-determined betting limits are a welcome addition. Although some bettors may object to giving sensitive information to bet above and beyond the baseline betting limits, this could be a small price to pay for having greater control of their gambling without cash.

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