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Stawell Gift backflips on bookie ban

The Stawell Gift has reversed its decision to ban on-site bookmakers from the 2024 Gift.

The Stawell Gift has reversed its decision to ban on-site bookmakers from the 2024 Gift.

Betting will now be allowed, with betting on under 18 athletes not allowed and the performances of under 18 athletes excluded when determining the wagering outcome.

Last month the Gift announced a ban on bookmakers to comply with Victorian Gambling & Casino Control Commission rules preventing betting on under 19 sport. This decision has now been changed ‘following consultation with stakeholders.’

As an example using last year’s women’s Gift final on how the new rules would apply:

  • Finalists Bella Pasquali and Layla Watson (both under 18 at the time) would feature on the bookmakers board but not have a price listed against them.
  • Odds would be offered on the other four athletes in the final.
  • The results of the gambling event would be based on the four over-18 athletes who odds have been offered for.
  • Pasquali won the racing event, but bets on second-placed Grace O’Dwyer would be paid the win in the betting event.
  • Similarly, the third and fourth placed performances from Nicole Berridge and Keely Henderson in the racing event would be treated as second and third respectively in the betting event.

Using the example of the men’s Gift, odds would have been able to be offered on winning Ryan Tarrant, with the Stawell Gift advising that the Act defined minors as under the age of 18. Tarrant was 18 at the time of the Gift final. However, betting on any Under 19 events is completely prohibited.

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The decision to allow betting will be popular with traditionalists. In a straw poll of over 150 respondents via our Instagram page, just under two-thirds indicated they did not support the initial decision of the Stawell Gift to ban betting.

However, the betting topic created vexed responses with 31% indicating their support for banning U19 athletes from competing in the Stawell Gift.

Most evenly split was three out of every five respondents indicating that athletes, their coaches and training partners should not be able to bet on their own events (which is allowed at Stawell, in contrast to competition manipulation rules across the rest of Australian sport).