Australian state regulator to introduce prohibition on betting on minors in sport
Expert Insight provided by Adrian Hambleton from Senet.

It is important that all Australian wagering operators (WSPs) and all 13 sports controlling bodies (SCBs) currently registered in Victoria are prepared for the forthcoming changes in Victoria relating to betting on minors participating in sporting events and under 19 sports competitions which will take effect on 26 February 2024.

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has determined that betting on minors in sport is contrary to the public interest and poses potential integrity and gambling related harm concerns and implemented prohibitions. 

While the changes take effect from 26 February 2024, the VGCCC has advised that it expects WSPs and SCBs to make every effort to adhere to the new requirements ahead of that date. With the Australian Open tennis tournament set to commence imminently and key sporting events and competitions on the near term horizon, there is a pressing challenge for SCBs and WSPs to exchange data and adapt processes to enable compliance with the new requirements.  

The new prohibitions
The VGCCC has implemented the prohibitions in a manner that requires action from both SCBs and WSPs. 

In particular, the conditions of SCB approvals are to be varied so that an SCB must ensure that any betting service offered on its sports betting event does not permit bets to be offered on:
  1. competitions where all players are minors or 19 or under; and
  2. any contingency (outcome) based on the performance of any participant who is a minor. For example, ‘first goal scorer’ or ‘most disposals’ markets.
This can be expected to be reflected in amendments to the terms of product fee and integrity agreements between SCBs and WSPs. 

Separately, the VGCCC has prohibited WSPs (wherever licensed) from offering betting on contingencies that relate to the outcome of the performance of an individual minor in a sports betting event in accordance with sections 4.5.29 of the Gambling Regulation Act 2003 (Vic) in certain circumstances.

Compliance with the new requirements is complicated by their application being dependent on a number of factors. These include whether or not there is an approved SCB for the sporting event, whether the SCB is licensed/registered in Victoria and the residency and location of the person placing the bet. The prohibitions will not apply, for example, to a non-Victorian WSP offering bets on a minor to a non-Victorian account holder where the bet is placed outside of Victoria, regardless of where the event is played.

Non-compliance with the prohibition
For WSPs, it will be an offence to offer and accept bets on a sporting event which is subject to the new prohibition under section 4.5.31 of the GR Act.
The penalty for non-compliance or breach of the prohibition is a fine of $11,538.60.

Next steps
The VGCCC has placed the responsibility for identifying participants who are minors on SCBs and WSPs. The VGCCC has advised that where a participant’s age cannot be verified, a precautionary approach should be taken and betting on the participant should not be offered until it can be. 

We anticipate continued engagement between SCBs and WSPs over the coming weeks given the need for both amendments to product fee and integrity agreements and also timely and current participant data. Similarly, for events where there is no SCB, WSPs will require reliable data from other sources on participants to have confidence that any individual performance markets offered on those events are permissible.