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Cashless slots attract scorn from anti-gambling groups

A ticket-in, ticket-out system could be introduced to slot machines in clubs in Victoria, sparking an uproar from anti-gambling groups, local media reports.

The cashless play system, which allows gamblers to load money onto barcoded paper is reportedly being considered by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation, and was put out for consultation this year.

However, there are fears that the proposed change will increase the harm associated with problem gambling.

According to the Herald Sun, Victorian InterChurch Gambling Taskforce spokesman Mark Zirnsak said the move would be devastating for problem gamblers.

“The Productivity Commission identified the risks of cashless gambling — it can disguise the fact that people are losing real money, and may reinforce anonymous, intense and uninterrupted gambling… Allowing for cashless gambling on pokies is something the government should be stopping, not giving a green light to,” he said.

Greens gambling spokeswoman Colleen Hartland said people would “lose massive amounts of money” if the cashless system was introduced.

“It is just avoiding the move to get rid of ATMs in venues. This will just make it easier to gamble,” she said.

Patrick Hutchens, a spokesman for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Minister Marlene Kairouz, said authorities were working to reduce gambling harm across the state.

“Cashless gaming has operated at Crown Casino for several years and we understand some pubs and clubs are interested in introducing this technology at their venues,’’ Mr Hutchens said.

“We’re currently considering appropriate harm minimization measures for cashless gaming as part of our broader review of gaming machine regulations in Victoria.”

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