Crown Perth’s customers can use a debit card to purchase chips at gaming tables from July 27. Crown Resorts is starting cashless transactions trials for chip purchases at some of its gaming tables.

Western Australia 6PR radio station broke the news of the debit card trial late last week. It said Crown Perth is using an EFTPOS system to allow cashless gaming chip purchases. EFTPOS is an abbreviation for electronic funds transfer at point of sale.

Only a small number of gaming tables have the EFTPOS system in place. Every casino game and pokie will eventually have this system in place If the trial is successful.

The state’s Gaming & Wagering Commission gave the green light for the cashless trial. It is closely monitoring the practice and is reviewing a plethora of data in three months time.

“As part of the Commission’s approval to enable Crown to use cashless payments to purchase gaming chips at designated locations, the Commission requires Crown to provide a report on the use of the facility at the completion of the first three months of operation,” the Gaming & Wagering Commission said in a statement.

Crown resorts gave some insight into the thinking behind allowing cashless debit card purchases.

“In recent years, there has been a noticeable shift to the use of cashless payment methods in our community. This trend has now accelerated because of COVID-19. As a result of this shift, Crown Perth sought and was granted approval for the installation of EFTPOS debit facilities for chips on table games. Credit cards will not be allowed and transaction limits will apply. Crown will commence a trial on a small number of gaming tables on Monday.”

How Do The Debit Card Payments Work?

The concept of EFTPOS is simple. Players use their debit card at the table to purchase chips. There is no need to leave the table and visit the cashier’s cage to purchase more chips. The system benefits casino patrons, but anti-gambling campaigners are not happy in the slightest.

Gambling expert Dr Charles Livingstone has slammed allowing the use of debit cards at gaming tables. Dr Livingstone called the move a very dangerous proposition. Players not having a “circuit breaker” when they need more chips is a particular worry for Dr Livingstone.

Gamblers who run out of chips need to leave the table and gaming floor to purchase more chips. This short break gives them time to reflect and decide if they want to continue playing. Using EFTPOS takes this away and makes it possible to continue gambling until the yet-to-be-confirmed limits are reached.

Dr Livingstone and other gambling experts warn debit card payments will exacerbate problem gambling.

No Credit Card Payments

The gambling industry is stepping away from allowing credit card payments for chips and transactions. Macquarie Bank has already completely banned its credit cards from any form of gambling.

This is in an attempt to stop problem gamblers plunging themselves into debt to fund their gambling. It’s also because not allowing punters to get into debt prevents problem gamblers from surfacing.

Debit card users can only use money that is available in their bank accounts. Overdrafts are available on these accounts, but their size is nowhere near that of credit card limits. Furthermore, gamblers using a debit card see their spend far quicker than when using a credit card. Many people use internet banking and see a list of their transactions regularly. Credit card companies tend to only send statements every 50-60 days.

Gambling transactions on a credit card often come with additional fees. Credit card companies levy a charge for the chips’ purchase then add monthly interest to account balances. This leads to balances being difficult to pay off and some people gamble more to try clear their account. A vicious circle is created and a gambling problem isn’t often too far away.