Two-Up: The Gambling Game Kiwis Didn’t Adopt as an Anzac Tradition


April 25th is an important date in the calendars of both Australia and New Zealand as it's Anzac Day!

It commemorates the sacrifices made by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) during World War I, particularly at the Battle of Gallipoli.

While both countries share a strong bond and a common history, their traditions and cultural practices differ in many ways.

One such difference is the tradition of playing Two-Up, which is deeply ingrained in Australian culture but not as widely adopted in New Zealand.

The Origins of Two-Up

Two-Up is a traditional Australian gambling game that has its roots in the 18th century.

It was popular among Irish and English immigrants who came to Australia during the gold rush. The game was also played by convicts, who brought it with them to the colonies.

During World War I, Two-Up became popular among Australian soldiers, who played it to pass the time and socialize.

This tradition continued after the war, and the game became a staple of Anzac Day celebrations in Australia.

However, gambling on it is only legal on this particular day! This means you will never get to play Two-Up for real money in any of the Australian online casinos on the web.

The Game of Two-Up

The game is simple yet thrilling.

It involves the use of two coins (usually Australian pennies), a flat wooden paddle called a ‘kip', and a circle marked on the ground.

A designated spinner tosses the coins into the air to initiate the betting.

Meanwhile, the spectators bet on whether the coins will land heads up, tails up, or with one coin a head and the other a tail.

Eventually, the spinner announces the outcome and the winners.

It's a simple yet fast-paced game with the potential for significant wins or losses.

Anzac Day and Two-Up

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand.

It commemorates the sacrifices made by the Anzac troops during World War I, particularly at the Battle of Gallipoli.

In Australia, the day is marked by dawn services, parades, and other commemorative events.

Two-Up is a traditional part of these celebrations, with many Australians gathering in pubs and clubs to play the game.

As already mentioned, the game is legal on Anzac Day, but it is illegal to play it at any other time of the year.

Legality of Two-Up in Australia

The legality of Two-Up varies from state to state in Australia.

In New South Wales, the game is defined as an unregulated form of gambling under section 14 of the federal Unlawful Gambling Act 1998.

Penalty for participation include a fine of $5,500 or a jail term of up to 12 months or both.

However, under the state-level Gambling (Two-Up) Act 1998, the game is legal on Anzac Day (April 25th), Victory in the Pacific Day (August 11th), and Remembrance Day (November 11th after midday), provided certain conditions are met.

These conditions include no entrance fees, no commissions on bets, and all proceeds going to charity.

Meanwhile, the city of Broken Hill holds a special licence from the NSW Government that makes Two-Up legal all year round!

In Victoria, Queensland and South Australia the game is only legal on Anzac Day at RSL clubs and venues approved by the Minister for Gaming.

Two-Up can be legally played in Tasmania on Anzac Day, but only between 6 AM and 6 PM.

In Western Australian states, the game, as usual, is legal on Anzac Day, except in Kalgoorlie where it is legal all year round.

New Zealand's Perspective

In New Zealand, Two-Up is not as widely adopted as it is in Australia, although other gambling games are popular.

While the country shares a strong cultural and historical bond with Australia, New Zealanders have their own traditions and practices.

Anzac Day is still celebrated in the country, but the focus is more on solemn remembrance and less on gambling.

Many Kiwis attend dawn services and other commemorative events, but the tradition of playing Two-Ip is not as deeply ingrained.

Cultural Significance

For Aussies, Two-Up is more than just a gambling game; it is a cultural tradition that reflects the history and values of the country.

The game is a reminder of not only the sacrifices of the Anzac troops but also the camaraderie that developed during the war.

It is a way for Australians to come together and honour their fallen heroes.

The game's association with Anzac Day makes it a significant and sacred part of Australian culture, even if it is not as widely adopted in New Zealand.

To this day, Two-Up remains an iconic symbol of Australian identity.

Bringing extensive expertise in the professional iGaming industry and a deep understanding of online casino gambling, Mattias Fröbrant is a highly regarded iGaming journalist. With experience working with industry giants like Betsson Group and a track record of compiling thousands of casino articles, including hundreds of casino reviews, Mattias has established himself as a trusted authority.


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