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The Reason Why We Can Only Play Two-Up On ANZAC Day

Across the country today, Anzac Day, pubs and RSLs will fill up with Aussies who love playing a game they can only play once a year, two-up.

The popular gambling game is illegal on most other days of the year.

Two-up originated in the 1800s and was popular among poorer English and Irish people before it made its way to Australia with the arrival of the First Fleet.

The game was also a hit amongst Aussie soldiers overseas who were looking for a fun way to pass time with limited resources.

When soldiers returned from battle, the game became a fixture at RSL clubs and pubs even though it was illegal.

While most police would turn a blind eye to the illegal activity, over the past few decades many have tightened their rules and have only allowed two-up to be played on Anzac Day.

In Victoria, the Gambling Regulation Act states the RSL must provide permission for every game of two-up played, and insists all profits go straight to Anzac Appeal, a charity that benefits Aussie veterans.

In New South Wales, there’s a law called The Gambling (Two-Up) Act, which stipulates that two-up is only legal on Anzac Day (April 25th), Victory in the Pacific Day (August 15) and Remembrance Day (November 11, but only after 12 noon).

"The Gambling (Two-up) Act 1998 does not legalise the playing of two-up at any other time. The only exception to this is Broken Hill, where two-up is played all year round under a special licence from the NSW Government," says the NSW Department of Liquor and Gaming.

In most other states two-up must be played as part of a formal horse racing competition, or at a casino.

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