Published: August 8, 2023

Australia: Victoria gambling regulator to ban betting on minors in sports competitions

Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has announced that it will ban betting on all under 19 sports competitions. Additionally, the Australian province will also disallow any betting on the performance of individual players aged under 18 in junior and senior sporting events.

The VGCCC has sent letters to the governing bodies of major sports and to sports betting providers stating that it has determined that allowing betting on minors goes against "the public interest" and raises potential concerns about the integrity of sports and gambling-related harm.

These concerns encompass the vulnerability of minors to efforts aimed at compromising the integrity of a sporting event and normalizing gambling on activities involving children, the commission said in a press release.

The ban restricts offering bets on sporting events where all participants are minors, sporting events for under-19s, and open events where minors are participating. The latter provision means that bets can be placed on the open event 'team,' but not on specific outcomes for players in the team who are under 18 years old.

The ban encompasses offering bets on specific outcomes like 'first goal of the game,' 'most disposals,' or 'first player to take a wicket' when individual players are minors. However, bets are still permissible on team outcomes in senior sports, even when minors may be participating.

“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,” VGCCC chair Fran Thorn said.

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," he added.

VGCCC-approved sports governing bodies have been instructed to modify their agreements with betting providers to enforce a prohibition on offering markets that involve minors. The sports controlling bodies and betting providers will be given a 60-day period to adhere to the updated regulations.

Following this timeframe, it will be considered a violation to permit bets on games and outcomes linked to individual players within a team or participating in the sports betting event who are under 18 years of age. The commission is also extending the same ban to cover any other sports that do not fall under the jurisdiction of an approved sports governing body

The decision comes in the wake of letters sent by the VGCCC to sports governing bodies in February, serving as a reminder of their responsibilities regarding sports integrity. These letters also sought information about whether they had implemented limitations on markets pertaining to events featuring minors.

The ban also comes after Victoria  last month announced new reforms aimed at reducing harm from electronic gaming machines. Set out by premier Daniel Andrews, and the minister for casino, gaming and liquor regulation Melissa Horne, the reforms remain subject to final approval.

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