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Victoria’s Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) launched an inquiry into the state’s bingo regulation yesterday (6 June).

The Commission said it aims to deepen its understanding of the sector’s challenges and explore ways to enhance regulatory and industry practices.

The inquiry will explore whether the rules governing bingo are fit for purpose, as well as examining the vulnerability of cash-based transactions to criminal organisations.

It will also inspect the extent to which bingo profits are supporting community organisations.

The Commission’s chair Fran Thorn said: “In recent years, the commercial bingo landscape has modernised, 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, particularly among at risk groups such as seniors, First Nations communities, women, and  lower income individuals.

“Despite regulatory oversight, we continue to receive reports and allegations of unlicensed operators and potentially fraudulent activities.”

Thorn highlighted the inquiry’s opportunity to understand how bingo is evolving with technology as well as the current risk landscape.

The VGCCC invited all interested parties and stakeholders to participate in the inquiry.

These include customers, industry participants, community organisations and concerned citizens.

In FY23, Victoria’s bingo revenue stood at A$107m, compared to the A$61m generated by Keno during the year.

Australia’s regulatory tightening

If the inquiry recommends stricter rules, it will be just the latest news of possible regulatory tightening in Australia’s gambling sector.

It comes as the government mulls a possible total advertising ban, as recommended in June 2023 by a parliamentary gambling harms inquiry.

The inquiry’s chair, Labor MP Peta Murphy, said: “It is absolutely clear that it is not just community members who are concerned about the proliferation of sports betting advertisements and the increasing engagement of young people in sports betting.”

The VGCCC itself called on the Albanese government to implement such a ban in January this year.

Other recommendations of the report included a ban on inducements, an online harms reduction strategy and the introduction of national bet limits.

The possibility of tighter national regulation is speculated to have played a role in BlueBet and Betr’s April decision to merge into a single company.

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