Welcome to the Gambling Information Resource Office's Glossary of terms used in relation to gambling.

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Access is a term used in academic literature on gambling to cover all forms of availability of gambling. For example, access might be measured in terms of hours that a pokie venue is open or by the number of venues, pokie machines, TAB terminals, or lotto outlets in a given area.

In regards to online gambling, an individual with a smart phone or tablet effectively has 24/7 access to gambling.

Access can be used as a measure of how easy or difficult it is for a given group of individuals (eg. Victorians, home broadband subscribers) to participate in a particular type of gambling. Increased or high levels of access to gambling are often identified as a major factor in increasing risks of problem gambling.

Levels and types of gambling access are also considered by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) as well as local councils when determining applications for gaming venue licenses or planning permits.

For pokies, the social impact in a community is often measured by considering the number of machines per 1,000 people.

Attitudes Towards Gambling Scale (ATGS)

This survey instrument examines general attitudes towards gambling using 14 statements from media, industry and government about gambling.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

An independent government authority whose primary responsibility is to ensure that individuals and businesses comply with Australian competition, fair trading, and consumer protection laws - in particular the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.

Australian Gambling Council (AGC)

A national industry body that aims to support a  sustainable gambling industry providing entertainment and economic benefits while promoting gambling education, responsible gambling awareness, quality gambling research and evidence-based policy. The council was established by leaders of the gambling industry in June 2000.



A physical computer terminal or device developed by Sportsbet which allows a user, by means of a touch screen, to place bets. The terminals communicate with Sportsbet's servers which are strategically located at its licensed premises in Darwin.

Betting exchange

A betting facility which acts as a market place for punters to trade bets at different prices and quantities, similar to a bookmaker. A betting exchange matches punters who are seeking to bet that a particular outcome will occur (for example that horse X will win) with others who are seeking to place opposing wagers (for example that horse X will not win).



A term that indicates a person has a number of problems that occur together, and may be related. For example, problem gamblers often suffer from other issues such as depression, anxiety, smoking, drug dependence or relationship problems.

These other problems are referred to by experts as comorbidities of problem gambling. Problem gamblers do not always have other serious health or social problems but are more likely to suffer from multiple problems than the average person.

Code of Conduct

By law in Victoria, gambling providers must have a Responsible Gambling Code of Conduct. The code of conduct must meet a number of requirements and be accepted by the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR).

For example, the code will  specify how the provider (staff) will interact with those seeking help for problem gambling or exhibiting signs of distress that may relate to problem gambling.

Community benefit statements (CBS)

This report verifies whether the community benefit provided by a club is equal to at least 8.33 per cent of its net gaming machine revenue, as required by law. Clubs must submit a community benefit statement to VCGLR per financial year.


This gambler's slang primarily refers to the practice of placing in-play bets on a sport where you are physically present.

It involves beating/cheating the system by being able to take advantage of the delay between seeing an event occurring and the broadcasting/transmission of the event's outcome to bookmakers or, in the case of a betting exchange, other participants.

Theoretically one can place a bet in the time between you knowing the outcome of the event and those you place the bet with knowing the outcome.

In Victoria amendments to the Crimes Act in April 2013 made a practice such as courtsiding illegal in this state.F


Disordered Gambling

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is used by the Australian legal system and psychiatrists, has officially registered problem gambling as an addiction.

Disordered Gambling refers to an individual who meets five or more of the criteria described in the DSM-5; where four or more (in past 12 months) is indicative of problem gambling. These include:

  1. Needs to gamble with increasing amounts of money in order to achieve the desired excitement.
  2. Is restless or irritable when attempting to cut down or stop gambling.
  3. Has made repeated unsuccessful efforts to control, cut back, or stop gambling.
  4. Is often preoccupied with gambling (e.g., having persistent thoughts of reliving past gambling experiences, handicapping or planning the next venture, thinking of ways to get money with which to gamble).
  5. Often gambles when feeling distressed (e.g., helpless, guilty, anxious, depressed).
  6. After losing money gambling, often returns another day to get even ("chasing" one's losses).
  7. Lies to conceal the extent of involvement with gambling.
  8. Has jeopardized or lost a significant relationship, job, or educational or career opportunity because of gambling.
  9. Relies on others to provide money to relieve desperate financial situations caused by gambling

Previously named Pathological Gambling, and classified as an Impulse Control Disorder, disordered gambling (or problem gambling) is now in the Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders category.


Electronic gaming machines (EGMS, pokies)

Electronic Gaming Machines (EGMS), also known as pokie machines or pokies, are controlled by a computer program that generates thousands of random combinations every second. To place a bet on a pokie machine you must insert cash or credit into the machine and press the button. The machine will randomly determine the position of symbols on the game and generate one outcome. If the machine determines a win, credits are paid. If not, the machine continues to generate outcomes until the button is pressed again.

Similar terms used elsewhere in the world include slot machines or "slots." Note that machines used across the world, while similar to Australian pokies, are not always the same. Elements that may differ include the amount that can be bet per spin, the size of payouts, the speed at which bets happen (spin rate), the returns to player and features offered such as free spins or linked jackpots


Gambling on the outcome of a computer game. Video-game bookies are starting to take bets for people watching other people play video games. 205 million people reportedly viewed e-sports in 2015.

On 28 April 2015, Tabcorp Holdings Limited entered into a global partnership with USA-based gaming, eSports and entertainment company Unikrn to for a global online eSports arena.


Fixed Odds

The dividend (payout) price you receive for your bet at the time of placing the bet is fixed, and will not change throughout the event.  The odds offered at the time of the particular bet are the odds paid regardless of how much extra money might go on later.

Fixed odds betting terminal (FOBT)

A type of electronic gaming machine (in the UK) that allows players to bet on the outcome of various simulated games and events. Players interact with the games via touch screen, and are able to gamble up to £100 every 20 seconds, which is approximately AU$1,000 per minute.


Gambling definition

Gambling/betting requires a player to risk losing something of value (usually money) for the chance of winning more, which is dependent on their ability to correctly predict an uncertain outcome such as a particular horse coming first in a race, a particular team winning a sporting match, or having a certain combination of cards in a card game.

Gamblers' fallacy

A misconception that the probability of occurrence of a chance event or outcome is influenced by a previous, or series of previous, events. The gambler's fallacy relates to thinking that there is a relationship between past random events that enables forecasting of a future event when in fact there is no such relationship.

For example, a belief that a set of lotto numbers are more or less likely to occur on the basis of how often they have come up in the past. A belief that some numbers are lucky or popular because they have been drawn many times, or that other numbers are "due" to appear because they have not been drawn often or at all, are both examples of this misconception.

Gaming Machines

See Electronic Gaming Machines

Gaming Technology Association (GTA)

The Gaming Technologies Association is the peak representative body for Australian gaming machine technology suppliers, and supports the national gaming industry through policy leadership and industry advocacy.


Incidence rate

In epidemiology, an incidence rate is the number of new cases in a defined population in a given time period. The incidence rate should not be confused with the prevalence rate, which is a measure of the total number of cases (for example, of problem gambling) in a given population at a designated time and includes new and existing cases.

Thus, incidence conveys information about the risk of becoming a problem gambler, whereas prevalence indicates how widespread problem gambling may be.


Refers to any encouragement or persuasion to participate in a gambling activity. Examples of inducements may be an offer of free credit, a voucher for signing up to a betting account, a gift for referring a friend, or by the way of a reward for frequenting a particular venue. Victoria does not allow promotions for gambling in the form of inducements.

Read further at Nerilee, H et al. (2015) Review and analysis of sports and race betting inducements

Interactive gambling

Refers to the range of activities that are offered through interactive media, including computers, mobile and smart phones, tablets, and digital television. The term interactive gambling is largely interchangeable with Internet, remote and online gambling.

Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA)

It's illegal to provide some interactive gambling activities to someone in Australia. This Act targets the providers of interactive gambling to minimise the harmful effects of gambling on the Australian community.

Intralot Gaming Services (IGS)

Intralot Gaming Services provides the electronic monitoring system for all hotel and club gaming machines in Victoria. Under the EGM Monitoring Licence, IGS also will provide data and information on gaming machines for regulatory, taxation and research purposes.



Also known as 'progressive jackpot, refers to an EGM on which the potential jackpot size increases with each credit that is played. When the progressive jackpot is finally hit, the jackpot amount resets to the starting number.



Keno is a game in which a player bets that their chosen numbers match any of the 20 numbers randomly selected, via a computer system or a ball draw device, from group of 80 numbers.

In most states, Keno is linked to all venues within a particular jurisdiction, enabling the operator to offer large jackpot prizes. Keno has a fixed pay scale such that the pay out for each bet is established by rules, and does not relate to total bets made on an individual game.


Live Betting

See Micro-betting



Micro-betting refers to 'in-play' betting meaning a bet has been made during a match or game. A micro-bet often has the following characteristics:

  • the betting opportunity is repetitive, of a high frequency and is part of a structured component of the match or game
    • for example: ball-by-ball betting in a game of cricket or point-by-point betting in tennis
  • the bet is placed on one of a limited number of outcomes, although the number of possible outcomes may be more than two
    • for example: whether the next serve will be a fault, or whether the next ball will be a no ball
  • the time between placing a bet and knowing the outcome is very short
    • for example: it is usually less than five minutes

Other terms that refer to in-play micro betting include "live betting" and "in the run" betting

Note that such betting can not be legally offered over the internet (online) in Australia

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation (the Minister)

The current Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation is the Hon. Ms Marlene Kairouz, appointed in June 2016.



Refers to your chance of winning; or the ratio of probabilities (either a percentage, or a figure that the betting agent offers to multiply of the bettor's stake).

  • View an ad that debunks some of the myths about the odds of winning at gambling: Know the odds


Parimutuel betting

See Totaliser Agency Board (TAB)

Personal Electronic Transmitters (PETs)

An electronic form of ticketing for playing Bingo, or 'paperless Bingo'. Games are purchased and loaded onto the PET prior to the session. Then, as numbers are called out, players push the same number on the panel for the PET to register and assess a match.


Electronic games played independently during live Bingo games. They can be played during breaks, between sessions, or whilst engaging in a live bingo game. Similar in design and experience to EGMs (pokies).


See Electronic Gaming Machines


Pre-commitment is used to refer to mechanisms by which players of pokies can set limits on their spending or time spent gambling. Suggested methods involve devices such as cards that are inserted into a machine, which will stop the machine from continuing to play when the pre-set limit is reached.

In "mandatory pre-commitment" a device is needed to play any machine and when the limit is reached the player is unable to continue playing that machine or any others. Players who have reached their limit are locked out until an allocated period (eg 24 hours) has passed and their limit resets.

In "voluntary pre-commitment" the player receives a warning they have reached a limit but can continue playing by removing the pre-commitment device

Prevalence rate

In epidemiology, the prevalence rate is a measure of the total number of cases (for example, of problem gambling) in a given population at a designated time and includes new and existing cases. The prevalence rate should not be confused with the incidence rate which refers to the number of new cases in a defined population in a given time period.

Thus, incidence conveys information about the risk of becoming a problem gambler, whereas prevalence indicates how widespread problem gambling may be.

Prevalence study

Gambling prevalence studies take a cross-sectional snapshot of gambling behaviours in a given population. Data is collected through surveys which include questions on attitudes to gambling, demographic characteristics of gamblers and gambling behaviour.

Results from surveys allow researchers to make statements about the prevalence of problem gambling in a particular population.

Problem Gambling

Problem gambling is characterised by difficulties in limiting money and/or time on gambling, which leads to adverse consequences for the gambler, others, or for the community.

Problem gambling has a similar effect on the brain as drug and alcohol addictions, which explains why just trying to stop isn't usually enough to make it happen. It also explains why many people have to try several times before successfully stopping.

  • See also, Disordered Gambling.

Productivity Commission (PC)

The Productivity Commission is the Australian Government's independent research and advisory body on a range of issues which affect the welfare of people nationwide.


Responsible gambling

(The foundation definition)

Responsible gambling for individuals means:

  • they may gamble for pleasure and entertainment but are aware of the likelihood of losing and understand the associated risks
  • they exercise control over their gambling activity
  • responsible gambling occurs in balance with other activities in their lives and is not causing problems or harm for themselves or others.

Responsible gambling for the broader community, including gambling providers, governments, and sporting associations, requires:

  • shared responsibility for generating awareness of the risks associated with gambling
  • creating and promoting environments that prevent or minise problem gambling
  • being responsive to community concerns around gambling.

Responsible Gambling Advocacy Centre (RGAC)

The Responsible Gambling Advocacy Centre (no longer in operation) was an organisation set up and funded by the Victorian government to assist people to make informed and sensible choices about gambling.

Responsible Service of Gaming course (RSG)

This certification is required by all gaming venue employees working in gaming machines areas while open to the public, within 6 months of commencing employment.

Return to Player

The 'Return to Player' (RTP) rate is the percentage of the money gambled in games of chance that is required by law to be paid back to gamblers as 'winnings', over time. In practice the "player" in RTP refers to the many players taken as a collective. As individuals, some may get almost nothing back and some may back get more than they bet. If a few gamblers are big winners, then logically many others must get back less than the RTP.

In Victoria return to player in pokies venues is set at a minimum of 85% and is worked out on the basis of the total return across all the machines in a venue in a calendar year.


Self exclusion

Self-exclusion is a program that enables a person to ban themselves from gaming venues and/or internet gambling. All Australian gambling providers are required to provide customers with the option to self-exclude from their venue or products.

Social casino games

These are games, commonly available as mobile phone or tablet apps or via Facebook, that simulate types of gambling. While players cannot win cash they do pay real money to buy the imitation money to play the games. These games often do not fall under laws or regulations covering gambling.

Sports betting

Wagering on types of local, national or international sporting activities (other than the established forms of horse and greyhound racing), whether at or remote from the event venue, and regardless of whether being done in person, by telephone, or via the Internet.

Social Economic Index for Areas (SEIFA)

Developed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this product looks at relative measures of socio-economic disadvantage and advantage by geographical location. The indexes are based on information from the five-yearly national Census.


Totalisator Agency Board (TAB)

This form of wagering is conducted Australia-wide and relates to the amount wagered at TAB outlets (other than those on a race track). Totalisator wagering (sometimes called parimutuel betting) involves a player making a 'unit' wager (a unit being any multiple of 50 cents or one dollar depending on the jurisdiction).

The operator deducts a percentage of the total units wagered (for costs including tax), and the remainder is returned as dividends (winnings) to players in multiples of the unit wagered. Because of the way this form of betting works, gamblers are offered what are called starting prices.

The odds on the horse or dog in the race will change up until the time bets on the race cease because the formula for payouts is directly linked to how much is wagered. Therefore, while a horse might be rated at 3 to 1 when you place a bet, lots of extra money bet on it between your bet and the race may mean the starting price odds, the payout, might only be 2 to 1.

Regular bookmaker wagering in contrast offers what are called fixed odds, the odds offered at the time of the particular bet are the odds paid regardless of how much extra money might go on later.

True odds

The real odds of something happening. The ratio of the number of times one event will occur to the number of times that it will not. Note that the odds posted in a casino in relation to house games such as roulette are usually not the true odds.

The odds offered by the casino and are designed to be less than the true odds, which provide a "house edge" to guarantee a constantly better return than that of players.


Turnover is the expression used to describe the amount wagered. It is all the money bet before any winnings are paid out or losses incurred. It does not include any additional charges that may also be paid at the point of purchase, such as the selling agents' commission in the case of lotteries.


Venue support worker (VSW)

This role supports venues in responsible gaming practices, in accordance to approved Responsible Gambling Codes of Conduct. Trained through the Venue Support Program, the worker is required to identify and respond to signs of distress of patrons that may be related to problem gambling.

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)

Established under the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998, VCAT commenced operation in 1998, amalgamating 15 boards and tribunals to offer a 'one-stop shop' dealing with a range of disputes.

Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR, the commission)

The commission, commencing operations on 6 February 2012, is the independent statutory authority which regulates Victoria's gambling and liquor industries. The commission monitors compliance of the Crown Casino and other gaming venues across the state. The commission conducts hearings (both public and private) on matters such as approval for proposed gaming premises, or requests for increased gaming machines.

Video lottery terminal (VLT)

Similar in look to a pokie machine, this is a stand-alone device that allows the player to bet on the outcome of a video game. VLTs are considered to be uniquely addictive as they have unparalleled speed of play and speediness of returns.



The term wagering is used to refer officially to bets placed on racing and sporting events. It is used as a term for a distinct form of gambling, in contrast with betting on poker machines or buying lottery tickets.

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