Cash ban for unsupervised betting machines after pubs allegedly failed to stop child gambling

All electronic betting machines in Victorian gaming venues will soon become cashless or moved closer to the counter after a 16-year-old was found to have been able to gamble at a string of pubs more than 30 times.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission issued a statewide direction that prevents Tabcorp’s betting terminals in pubs and clubs from accepting cash bets unless within five metres of the counter, as part of its decision to renew the wagering giant’s gaming licence for the next 20 years.

About 60 per cent of Tabcorp’s gaming machines in venues are outside the required five-metre rule.
About 60 per cent of Tabcorp’s gaming machines in venues are outside the required five-metre rule.Credit: Josh Robenstone

About 60 per cent of Tabcorp’s betting machines in pubs and clubs are outside the required five-metre rule. This means these venues will either be restricted to cashless bets or the terminals will be moved closer to the counter. In the venues that go cashless, punters will have to show identification at the counter and be issued with a voucher to place a bet or the venue.

Tabcorp has held the sole rights to operate retail betting in Victoria for the past 20 years. This means it is responsible for overseeing the 1800 electronic betting terminals across the state, with the bulk housed in pubs and clubs.

Commission chief executive Annette Kimmett said the new requirements were a direct response to the failure of Tabcorp and the pubs from preventing the child from gambling, despite a number of warnings.

“It is inexcusable to accept a bet from a minor and tougher actions are required to protect the community, especially children, from gambling harm,” Kimmett 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.”

Tabcorp has also been ordered to roll out an independent mystery shopper program to ensure venues are appropriately checking identification, or risk having the offending venues stripped of their betting terminals.


The ASX-listed wagering giant currently faces 72 charges of allowing a minor to gamble and failing to reasonably supervise its terminals after the teenager, then aged 16, gambled at many Victorian pubs over multiple periods in 2022. Tabcorp may also be forced to pay up to $969,236 in fines if convicted of the breaches.

The Victorian regulator began its investigation after a complaint from a member of the public in May last year. So far, the commission found the teenager, who has recently turned 18, was able to place bets as a child at 13 venues between September 2022 and November 2023, when aged 16 and 17.

‘Venue staff are the first line of defence in protecting minors from gambling.’

Annette Kimmett, Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission chief executive

The pubs – the bulk of which are owned by ASX-listed pubs giant Endeavour – face a maximum collective fine of $1 million.

So far, nine venues have been charged with allowing a minor within a gaming machine area and failing to ensure gambling vending machines were reasonably supervised at all times.

The remaining four pubs are expected to be charged in the coming months with similar offences after allegedly allowing the child to gamble on five additional occasions between September and October last year.

A Tabcorp spokesperson said the business would work with the regulator and retail outlets to implement the required changes.

“Tabcorp worked with the state regulator to ensure cash betting was allowed for electronic betting terminals within five metres of the counter and that voucher betting is allowed for all other electronic gaming terminals,” the spokesperson said.

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