- »Victoria Prepares Gambling Venues for TITO Gaming
Victoria Prepares Gambling Venues for TITO Gaming
The Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) recently announced the impending transition of pokies to a system that accepts and remits tickets. The Ticket-In Ticket-Out system is one designed to rid the need for coins.
Venues with gaming machines must now ensure that their new systems are compliant with regulatory requirements and expectations.
December Delivered TITO Message
The Victorian Commission gave notice in December 2019 that the Ticket-In Ticket-Out (better known as TITO) functionality on gaming machines will be available soon.
The system will reduce the need for cash – specifically coins – with the use of barcoded tickets. Players will be able to see a cashier or cash machine to redeem a ticket or simply take it from one machine to another to seamlessly continue play.
TITO systems have already been tested to make certain that they will connect with the Intralot Central Monitoring and Control System and be compliant with all Victorian technical standards. Intralot will monitor TITO transactions just as it does with all other gaming machine transactions.
It is important to note that venues are not required to use TITO. They may use TITO with all, none, or some of their pokies.
The introduction is merely the process by which venue operators can keep up with the latest technology and keep their machines current and player-friendly.
How to Get TITO
Venue operators with gaming machines must find and coordinate with a third-party service to obtain TITO equipment. There are no licensed services, however, that are already in complete compliance with VCGLR, so operators are tasked with vetting the companies. They must work with the third party to ensure that all TITO systems are compliant.
In addition, venue operators must retain all documentation from those service providers. All of the responsibility during this process is on the venue operator.
It is also important that the gaming machines are capable of using TITO technology. Newer machines should have the technology to switch to TITO, but older ones may require modifications. In the case of the latter, manufacturers and suppliers must all approve of the TITO conversion process.
Most of the gaming reconciliation requirements for venue operators are the same for TITO recording and reporting as with coin-based machines.
One difference, however, is the need to conduct a master reset of the gaming machine upon the launch of the TITO system. All meters must be recorded for financial and auditing purposes.
Operators must also monitor all tickets issued by the TITO system and coordinate them with hand-pay tickets. All of them must be reviewed daily to ensure all players were paid correctly. And all unpaid tickets and unclaimed winnings must be paid to the State Revenue Office.
Worries of Increased Gambling
South Australia has been debating changing pokies to be able to accept banknotes in addition to coins. And while many lawmakers and the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) want the change, others have expressed concerns.
The vast majority of South Australians – four out of five – believe that allowing banknotes in machines will inevitably increase the number of people with gambling addictions and the amount of gambling harm to society as a whole.
While South Australia continues those discussions as a bill awaits parliamentary action, some of those worries have spread to other parts of Australia. Machines that use tickets instead of coins have led to similar concerns.
However, the Australian Capital Territory has already been through this. The ACT government approved TITO systems years ago, following similar moves by New South Wales and Queensland.
No Evidence of Problems
After many machines switched to the ticketing system for pokies players, the Clubs ACT organization tried to minimize any worries remaining. Clubs ACT Chief Executive Jeff House, on behalf of ACT’s registered clubs with pokies, told ABC News that there had been no evidence that gambling problems had increased since the implementation of TITO systems.
House added that the introduction of ticketing systems prompted no gambling increases. In fact, he said that revenue in clubs had fallen since TITO began.
Some groups advocating for less gambling in Australia and more help for problem gamblers warned of dangers in 2014 and 2015. They insisted that tickets will allow gamblers to spend more, increasing the ease with which gamblers can play consistently without human interaction.
Numbers from the ACT Gaming and Racing Commission and Clubs ACT, however, have dispelled those worries. And other changes, such as increasing the ATM withdrawal limits in the clubs, have not been implemented.
TITO, in and of itself, has been shown not to introduce new or increase existing gambling harms to players or communities.