Victoria Government’s Gambling Modernisation Bill

Victoria Government's Gambling Modernisation Bill Comes into Effect July 01, 2015

The bill introduced by the Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation and passed by the Victoria Parliament in April 2014, aimed at modernising the outdated provisions of Victoria's Gambling Regulation Act (GRA) 2003, came into effect last July 01, 2015. The amended GRA now includes a definition of gambling and three new gambling offences, whilst repealing several policies pertaining to unlawful games, betting exchanges, totalisators and lotteries constituting violations of the legislation.

The amended legislation now states clearly that a person is not deemed in violation of the Act if he or she is a mere participant to unauthorised gambling activities

Gambling Defined

The GRA defines gambling activities, as acts of offering prize money or thing of value to be won, but for which a person has to pay or place money or other valuable considerations as wager as means of vying for an outcome that involves elements of chance. The definition also states that the legislation applies even if such elements can be overcome or influenced by the skill of a participant.

Gambling activities defined by the Act as authorised include:

  • Games conducted at amusement venues, in fetes or in carnivals;
  • Two-up games held in relation to the celebration of ANZAC Day;
  • Betting on approved bicycle or foot races;
  • Approved auction-based Calcutta Sweeptakes;

Activities that fall under the GRA's definition of gambling, and those activities not at all mentioned as authorised under the Act, or by any other Victoria legislation are deemed unauthorised.

Unauthorised activities include, organising, managing, supervising, distributing, facilitating, allowing, or even assisting and using documents, equipment, devices, or other objects, all for the purpose of letting unauthorised gambling sessions to take place. In addition to those activities, the legislation also considers acts of advertising and providing a place for unauthorised gambling as offences in violation of the GRA.

Activities Not Considered as Gambling by the Amended Act:

The amended GRA contains provisions that exclude the following from the definition of gambling activities:

  • Those undertaken but without intention of raising money, such that the organiser or manager of the activity will not gain profit and that all money collected will revert to the participants.
  • The activity conducted does not require a fee or charge as condition to participation;
  • The act of merely receiving winnings from the winner of a horse race, any form of race, game, sport, or exercise; including receiving winnings from the owner of the horse;
  • Private raffle held by employees for purposes of using the proceeds as means for providing amenities that will benefit the employees themselves, for as long as the value of the prize is not in excess of AU$5,000.
  • An activity specifically prescribed in the amended regulation as not a gambling activity.

Penalties for Violating the Amended GRA

Effective July 01, 2015, any person or group of persons in breach of the provisions of Victoria's Gambling Regulation Act as amended by the Gambling and Liquor Legislation Amendment (Modernisation) Act 2014, will face penalties that include two years imprisonment, 100 counts of penalty units or a combination of both penalty units and term of imprisonment.