The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has announced it is running an exploratory inquiry into the bingo sector, as it aims to keep the bingo-playing landscape “social, safe, and fair”.

The independent regulator is seeking feedback from industry stakeholders and the community about current practices, emerging trends, sector challenges, and how it can enhance regulatory and industry practices.  

Since 2015, the turnover from Bingo has grown by 70 per cent, from $64 million to $107 million last financial year, the VGCCC said.

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

“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.” 

Some of specific focus of the inquiry will include understanding the customer experience of playing bingo to fundraise and in commercial settings; the role of bingo in fundraising, including the role of community and charitable organisations; and the practices of entities and individuals who are part of the bingo industry.

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

The inquiry is part of the VGCCC’s wider effort to improve regulatory oversight of the gambling industry.

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

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

Submissions close Thursday, August 1.

A submission report outlining the results will be provided to the commission in late November 2024.

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