In a move aimed at safeguarding the integrity of sports and protecting minors, Victoria’s Gambling and Casino Control Commission has decreed a comprehensive ban on betting linked to under-19 sports events.
Background: Pokies Reforms and Royal Commission’s Findings
This latest restriction follows the recent announcement of sweeping reforms in Victoria aimed at curbing the perils associated with electronic gaming machines.
These proposed reforms encompass mandatory betting caps, identity validations, and other pivotal measures designed to combat gambling-induced harm and money laundering.
Furthermore, these transformations were driven by the findings of the Royal Commission into the Crown Melbourne’s operations. Discovering unethical and unlawful conduct, the Commission deemed the establishment “unsuitable” for licensing.
This eventually birthed the VGCCC to oversee and refine the gambling landscape in Victoria. Notably, the 2023 Victoria budget has earmarked AU$71m to bolster VGCCC’s pivotal role in diminishing gambling-related harm.
Victoria’s Protective Measures
The VGCCC has outlined its stringent regulations, stating a prohibition on betting endeavors where the participants are entirely minors. Moreover, betting on the individual achievements of athletes under 18 – be it in senior or junior events – is also restricted.
To elucidate, wagers focusing on specific outcomes involving a minor player, such as the first goal scored, are now off-limits. Nevertheless, betting remains permissible on overall team outcomes in major sports, even if minors are participants.
As part of its initiative, VGCCC has urged sports controlling bodies to review and update their contracts with betting agencies. This move is intended to bar markets that revolve around minors, ensuring that even sports not under the aegis of an approved governing body are encompassed.
Sports entities and betting businesses are provided with a 60-day grace period, post-3 August, to adhere to these modifications. A breach post this window could invite regulatory consequences.
Conveying its sentiments and the rationale behind the stringent regulations, VGCCC communicated its trepidations about the potential integrity compromises and harm stemming from betting on minors.
Highlighting the vulnerabilities minors face, Fran Thorn, VGCCC’s chairperson, remarked, “The idea that it is okay to bet on minors just doesn’t stand up. We think minors deserve to be protected.” Thorn further cautioned that non-compliance could result in a revocation of the approval for sports operations in Victoria or even potential legal actions.
Implications for the iGaming Industry
The events unfolding in Victoria signal several implications for the wider iGaming arena:
- Youth Protection: The move underscores an industry-wide shift prioritizing youth safety and shielding them from potential gambling harms.
- Enhanced Oversight: With bodies like VGCCC becoming more proactive, betting operators might witness stringent regulations and increased scrutiny.
- Operational Challenges: The industry must adapt quickly, reassessing strategies and offerings to conform to the changing regulatory landscape.
Victoria’s efforts mark a conscientious stride towards creating a secure and accountable gambling ecosystem.