Playing Two-Up on ANZAC Day: Are you Breaking the Law?
April 25 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of ANZAC day, a celebration that will no doubt see many taking part in two-up at their local pub, a game commonly played in the trenches and on troop ships in the First and Second World War.
It may come as a surprise that playing two-up is in fact illegal on almost every other day of the year except ANZAC day, and that restrictions on the game have been through many changes throughout history.
“Its illegality roughly coincided with the temperance movement in the early 20th century. Drinking alcohol and gambling which took money away from women and children was seen as morally bad and the laws soon reflected that” said lecturer in Criminal Law at UTS, Lesley Townsley.
Following a surge in the popularity of the game in World War I, the Government stuck to the ban and drove two-up underground.
“Of course this led to illegal gambling which goes hand in hand with organised crime and corruption, but since the Government couldn’t regulate the takings from two-up games – because they can be played anywhere by anyone – it was probably better in their eyes just to keep it illegal” said Townsley.
It wasn’t until 1989 that the Gaming and Betting (Two-Up) Amendment Act declared that a game of two-up played on ANZAC day was no longer unlawful in New South Wales, and in 1991 Victoria followed suit.
In the early 1990’s Broken Hill local council were successful in their campaign to become the only town in New South Wales where it is legal play two-up, outside of a casino, every day of the year.
The Gambling (Two-Up Act) 1998 (NSW) further requires that organisers of two-up cannot profit financially from the game, and if games are held in a registered club they cannot charge an entry fee, and any financial advantage has to be given to a charity.
“The current law reflects the Government policy that people should not profit from this sort of gambling as organisers, as that can lead to all sorts of unsavoury problems such as organised crime and corruption,” said Townsley.
To those who were already aware of the legality of two-up on ANZAC day, remember when I said it was illegal on “almost” every other day of the year? That’s right; it is in fact also lawful to play two-up on Victory in the Pacific day, and Remembrance Day (but only after midday) under the Gambling (Two-Up) Regulation 2010.
So be sure to head out to your local next Saturday and join in the fun of two-up and know that even if you win or lose – at least you won’t get arrested.
Story by: Jessie Goldie
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