Victoria commission launches review of bingo regulation

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Announced today (6 June), the bingo review will seek opinions from industry stakeholders and the community in Victoria. This, the VGCCC says, will deepen its understanding of sector challenges and explore ways to strengthen regulatory and industry practices. 

The Commission will explore whether the current rules governing bingo in Victoria are fit for purpose. It will also look at the susceptibility of cash-based transactions to criminal activities and the extent to which profits are finding their way to support community organisations. 

According to the VGCCC, revenue from commercial bingo in Victoria generated AU$107m (£56m/€65m/US$71m) in revenue in the 2023 financial year. This is some way ahead of the $61m from keno during the same period.

“In recent years, the commercial bingo landscape has modernised,” the Commission chair, Fran Thorn, said. “It is transitioning from traditional paper-based gameplay to electronic enhancements with substantial jackpots.  

“Given this evolution, it is crucial for us to assess and address issues of fairness, integrity and the potential for gambling harm. This is particularly important among at-risk groups such as seniors, First Nations communities, women and lower income individuals.”

Thorn adds that despite regulatory oversight, the VGCCC continues to receive reports and allegations of unlicensed operators and potentially fraudulent activities. As such, it will seek opinion on how to improve rules and regulations. 

“This is an opportunity to really understand how bingo works and how it is evolving with technology,” Thorn said. “We understand the social outlet that bingo provides for many Victoria community members. 

“We want to understand the risks, reduce the potential for harm and put a stop to any behaviours threatening the integrity and fairness of the game.” 

The VGCCC is inviting all interested parties including customers, industry participants and community organisations to take part in the inquiry.

Victoria makes changes to online gambling account rules

The inquiry represents the latest step in Victoria’s ongoing efforts to improve regulations for gambling.

In April, the VGCCC confirmed changes to rules for online gambling accounts in the state. This includes how players view their spending and losses.

These changes focus on how certain information is displayed to players within their online gambling accounts. This includes information on spending, with net loss now excluding free and bonus bets.

Meanwhile, net wins are now more accurate, with players’ monthly statements subtracting all stakes from their total payout amount. Licensees are also required to use plain English, avoid unnecessary jargon and limit the use of colours to black and red to clearly show losses. In addition, gambling harm messaging should feature on each monthly statement.

Operators that fail to comply could attract 60 penalty units. This is equivalent to AU$11,539 for each non-compliant activity statement issued.

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