Victoria Australia

Victoria safer gambling crusade continues with under-19 event betting ban

The gambling regulator of the Australian state of Victoria has introduced a ban on betting markets for sports involving under-19 year-old participants.

An update from the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) stated that bets can no longer be taken on sports events where all participants are minors, fixtures for under-19s and open events in which minors are competing.

The latter means that a bet can be placed on the ‘team’ playing in the open event, but wagers on specific outcomes involving players who are under-18 – such as the number of goals scored by an under-18 player in a football game, for example – are not allowed.

The VGCCC is concerned that younger players may be susceptible to those seeking to undermine sports integrity, and also that betting on sports in which these players participate may normalise gambling among under-18s.

VGCCC Chair, Fran Thorn, said: “The idea that it is okay to bet on minors just doesn’t stand up. We think minors deserve to be protected. It also raises integrity issues, with the prospect of people attempting to influence how minors might behave playing sport.

“If sports controlling bodies and betting providers do not comply with this decision we will take action, which may include revoking our approval of sports controlling bodies and prosecuting betting providers.”

Sports authorities approved by the VGCCC to oversee betting have been informed by the regulator that any existing arrangements with betting operators must be altered, if needed, to meet the new rules.

The ban is more far-reaching than just VGCCC-approved sports bodies, however, as it also encompasses sports that are not governed by an approved authority. All sporting bodies will have 60 days to comply with the new requirements, after which point betting on under-19 sporting activities will become an offence.

In a letter to sports organisers, the regulator outlined: “The VGCCC is of the view that betting on contingencies in sporting events relating to the performance of an individual minor in that sporting event is contrary to the public interest.”

Like other Australian states, Victoria has been looking to strengthen relations around the industry, covering several areas. Of utmost importance to state authorities is player protection and minimisation of harmful gambling. 

Back in February, a range of safer gambling measures were adopted at the Crown Melbourne, the state’s flagship land-based casino. Last month, these measures were rolled out state-wide as the Labour administration pursues a player protection framework that is ‘the strongest in Australia’.

However, sports integrity has – as the most recent round of measures regarding minors in sports shows – also been a focal point for the VGCCC. In February, the regulator sent letters to sports bodies reminding them of integrity applications and requesting information about whether betting markets on events involving minors had been restricted in any way.

Thorn concluded: “It will, therefore, be prohibited to offer bets on an outcome such as ‘first goal of the game’, ‘most disposals’ or ‘first player to take a wicket’, where the outcome relates to an individual player that is a minor. For the avoidance of doubt, bets will still be able to be offered on the open team performance.”

Check Also

SBC News RWA: ‘Sensible’ regulations lead to safer gambling in Australia

RWA: ‘Sensible’ regulations lead to safer gambling in Australia

In the face of mounting pressure to raise the standards of safer gambling in the …

VGCCC hands largest ever AUS$1m fine to Tabcorp

VGCCC hands largest ever AUS$1m fine to Tabcorp

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has completed a three-year investigation into Tabcorp, …

AUSTRAC bet365 sportsbet investigation

BlueBet billboards land operator in trouble with Victorian regulator

BlueBet has been charged by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) with violating …