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Victoria bars betting on minors, Stawell Gift impacted

Victoria bans betting on under 18s

Victoria has introduced an Australian-first ban on betting on events that feature minors, with the tough new restrictions set to come into effect immediately.

The law changes have already impacted major events like the Stawell Gift, which will not accept bets on the race this year because many athletes under 18 have won.

The new rules, looking retrospectively, would have also stopped Victorians from betting on the likes of Ian Thorpe when he won gold at the Sydney Olympics or various AFL and NRL players who debuted before turning 18.

The ban is also blanket across all under-19 divisions in the state and teams with under 18s playing in their ranks.

Where the new laws get confusing is, for instance, how a bookmaker will settle a bet involving a game with a minor playing.

Things like first goal-scorer betting in the AFL can be thrown out by an ineligible player kicking it, although reports suggest the bet will be ineligible and likely refunded.

The Stawell Gift announced the ban on betting on this year’s event on Thursday, saying it was falling in line with the Victoria Gambling Commission’s policy.

Our Take on the Victorian under 18 bet ban

Victoria is attempting to do the right thing here, but in reality, it has made an already confusing set of laws even murkier.

The state government is inadvertently making the case for a national sports betting and gambling regulator because it’s just not feasible to have a patchwork of laws Australia-wide.

For instance, if you live in Victorian border town Wodonga, you won’t be able to bet on matches involving under 18s, while if you are in Albury (five minutes away in NSW), you will be able to.

Are Australian betting sites going to go down the road of geo-fencing to make sure the right people are seeing the right markets in each state?

It’s already a tough landscape for online betting sites in 2024, and creating more hurdles to both entering and remaining in the Aussie market is only going to hurt us – the punter.

And effectively banning betting on the Stawell Gift is a shame. Kids wandering around with their parents and grandparents in the betting ring is as Australian as a barbecue on a Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, those who still want to bet, will send their cash to offshore bookmakers.

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