Victoria Bans Betting on Minors

Victoria Bans Betting on Minors
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Victoria’s gambling regulator has announced major changes affecting the rules around betting on sports where minors participate. The new changes, due to take effect in just 60 days, will see operators face severe penalties if they fail to comply.

Let’s take a look at the full details of the ban, including identifying what’s covered and individual responsibilities. Along with how the changes reflect other current reforms sweeping Victoria and Australia.

Details of The Ban

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) is set to introduce a betting ban on all under 19 sports competitions in the state. The ban will include betting on individual players’ performance for anyone under 18 years, in both junior and senior sports.

The VGCCC raised concerns in letters sent to all major bodies that control sports and sports betting providers that betting on minors poses gambling-related harm concerns. And that it normalises gambling on events that involve children.

What’s Covered?

The ban is set to prohibit sports betting providers from offering bets on:

  • any sporting event where all of the participants involved are minors
  • all sporting events for under-19s competitions
  • all open events where there are minors playing, meaning bets can be placed on teams, but not on outcomes for players in those teams who are under 18 years
  • any outcomes where individual players are minors, e.g. first goal scored, most disposals or first wicket taken.

Responsibilities of Sporting Bodies

From 3 August, both sports governing bodies and betting operators will have only 60 days to ensure compliance with the new rules. Sports controlling bodies must amend any agreements with betting providers to ensure they stop offering any markets that involve minors. The ban is also set to apply to any sports, whether they’ve governed by an approved sports controlling body or not.

After 60 days, the VGCCC has stated it will be an offence for any operator to offer betting on events that involve minors. They may face losing approval to run sports in Victoria or even prosecution.

Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission

The VGCCC is the new, independent regulator of the gambling industry in Victoria. Formed in July 2022, the group has stronger powers and is dedicated to focusing on regulating gambling to ensure integrity, safety and fairness for all.

Their focus is on cracking down on any gambling operators who don’t protect people from gambling harms, including those who act dishonestly and break the law.

VGCCC chair Fran Thorn said of the new changes, “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.”

Reflection of Other Reforms

The decision reflects other Victorian and Australia-wide gambling reforms we’ve seen of late, including the introduction of an Australian wide register for people to self-exclude from online gambling. And changes to electronic gaming machines.

Last month, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews announced sweeping changes aimed at reducing harm from electronic gaming machines. The reforms are still subject to final approval but include changes to ID verification, reduced load-up limits, curfews for venues, reduced spin speed and mandatory pre-commitment limits.

Premier Andrews said that his state’s reforms would provide the strongest gambling harm prevention in Australia.

The Royal Commission

Victorian reforms follow the 2022 Royal Commission inquiry that investigated malpractice at Melbourne’s Crown Casino. The casino was found unsuitable by the Commission to hold a licence in the state.

The findings led to the formation of the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission to regulate gaming throughout Victoria. The group is set to take over the majority of the functions of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation from 1 July 2024.

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