Our History

A Few Words About Us

Let us introduce ourselves

The Victorian Bookmakers’ Association (VBA) is an incorporated entity, formed in 1940, whose primary objectives are to:

  • serve its Members in the promotion of oncourse and digital wagering activities across thoroughbred, greyhound, harness racing, and sports;
  • act as a statutory entity to guarantee the wagering activities of our Members pursuant the Racing Act 1958 (as amended);
  • act as a formal participant of the Victorian Racing Industry (VRI);
  • serve as a State member of the Australian Bookmaking Association;
  • interact with State and Federal Governments, especially Racing Victoria, the VCGLR and the Office of Gaming and racing, in respect of the promotion and regulation of wagering activities as these affect our Members.

The VBA is represented by a democratically elected Board of eight members and an Executive Officer.

Historically speaking, the VBA has endured over a period around 80 years, and has seen its membership peak at nearly 1,300 in the 1960s only to reduce to less than 160 members in 2021. This was due to the demise of oncourse patronage resulting from vast changes in social and demographic preferences. With the advent of online wagering and significant advances in technology, digital wagering turnover now exceeds oncourse turnover and increasingly the VBA is facilitating its Members to establish and operate hybrid (oncourse / online) wagering models.

The VBA is and will remain a progressive adaptable organisation and some of our most significant advancements achieved for our Members include:

  • The establishment of telephone betting
  • Gaining permission to use betting exchanges (lay and bet back)
  • Gaining permission to establish offcourse / home offices to operate digital businesses
  • Allowing Members to create partnerships and corporations
  • Advancing appropriate forms of technology in order that Members can successfully promote oncourse and digital wagering activities
  • Obtaining favourable thresholds (levies, consumption taxes etc.) so that Members would be subject to reasonable turnover levies and taxes and are therefore able to create sustainable businesses capable of competing against large corporate bookmakers

The VBA welcomes new Members, subject to a comprehensive joining criteria framework and vigorous probity tests.