Red tape issue
Gaming venue operators must issue cheques for people wishing to cash out winnings of $1000 or more. This is a harm minimisation measure as it designed to prevent those people having immediate access to those winnings while they are still in the gaming venue. It appears that gaming machine players who receive cheques may sometimes be targeted by informal money exchangers who offer cash in exchange for cheques, with up to a 20 per cent commission. Some concerns have been raised about this practice. It may raise money laundering risks.
On 19 December 2017, the Governor in Council proclaimed the Gambling Regulation Amendment (Gaming Machine Arrangements) Act 2017 (the Amending Act) and a number of changes commenced on 20 December 2017 in relation to gaming venue operators. Among these were changes to access cash in a gaming venue.
Prior to these amendments, gaming venue operators were required to issue cheques to individuals wishing to cash out winnings of $1000 or more. This requirement acted as a harm minimisation measure, designed to prevent people from being able to access their cash winnings immediately.
The Amending Act amends the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 to increase the threshold for the payment of gaming machine winnings by cheque from $1000 to $2000. In addition, amounts of $2000 or more can also be paid out via electronic funds transfer (EFT). Any gaming machine winnings of $2000 or more paid via EFT must not be accessible for 24 hours. The changes are a result of the Government's commitment to examine harm minimisation measures, together with the Gaming Machine Arrangements Review that considered post-2022 gaming machine arrangements.