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The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) will ban betting on all under 19 sports competitions, and any betting on the performance of individual players who are under 18 in junior and senior sport.

In letters sent last week to the bodies controlling all major sports and to sports betting providers, the VGCCC states it has “determined that permitting betting on minors is contrary to the public interest and poses potential integrity and gambling related harm concerns”.

These concerns include the susceptibility of minors to approaches seeking to undermine the integrity of a sporting event and normalising gambling on events involving children.

The ban prohibits offering bets on:

  • sporting events where all participants are minors
  • sporting events for under-19s
  • open events where minors are playing, meaning a bet can be placed on the open event “team” but not on particular outcomes for players in the team who are under 18 years old.
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The ban includes offering bets on outcomes such as “first goal of the game”, “most disposals” or “first player to take a wicket”, where individual players are minors. Bets can still be made on team outcomes in senior sports when minors may be playing.

Sports controlling bodies — sporting organisations that control, regulate and are approved by VGCCC to oversee betting on their sport — have been directed to vary their agreements with betting providers to ensure that they prohibit the offering of markets involving minors.

The VGCCC is also instituting the same ban for any other sports that are not governed by an approved sports controlling body.

Bodies controlling all major sports and betting providers will have 60 days to comply with the new requirements, after which it will be an offence to allow bets on games and outcomes relating to individual players in a team or participating in the sports betting event who are under 18.

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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.”

The letters state: “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.”

“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,” Ms Thorn said.

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