Ipswich RSL Services Club members (from left) Geof Kleinig, secretary John Dredge and president Peter Felton are happy about new laws that allow two-up to be played on Anzac Day.
Ipswich RSL Services Club members (from left) Geof Kleinig, secretary John Dredge and president Peter Felton are happy about new laws that allow two-up to be played on Anzac Day. David Nielsen

Two-up addicts flip without fear

AFTER spending years as an outlawed form of gambling, one of Australia's iconic traditions has finally been legalised.

The game of two-up was made famous by the Anzac soldiers of the First World War who gathered for games in the odd moments they weren't fighting for their lives.

The tradition has been carried on in the years since in RSL clubs, despite the risk of being caught in the act.

But legislation has been passed by Attorney General Paul Lucas allowing punters to legally play not-for-profit two up in RSL clubs and other approved liquor licensed venues, with the permission of the RSL.

Ipswich RSL Services Club president Peter Felton said the government had come to its senses by legalising a game which was already widely played on Anzac Day, and during his time in the RAAF.

"They passed a piece of legislation that no-one would object to."

But Mr Felton doesn't feel the game will become more popular. He thought it was the illegal nature of two-up that made it more attractive for punters.

Two-up crowds regularly reach more than 100 during the Ipswich RSL Anzac Day commemorations.

"It's full-on. The punters are all yelling and as long as we stick to the rules you don't have any trouble.

"It adds more atmosphere to the day. Some people only see it once a year," Mr Felton said.

Mr Lucas said legalising two-up was a win for diggers, their families, punters and RSL and services clubs alike.

"While technically illegal, police have traditionally turned a blind eye in recognition of the dedication current and ex-servicemen and women have shown to Australia.

"It ensures that any funds raised from entry fees are returned to the RSL to support ex-servicemen, women and their families, which is what the RSL asked for."

Mr Lucas said the amendments would allow the RSL to request other days on which two-up could be allowed, such as Vietnam Veteran's Day.

RSL Queensland CEO Chris McHugh welcomed the new laws.

"Although, to the best of my knowledge, no licensed RSL has ever been prosecuted for playing two-up on Anzac Day, the potential is there," he said.



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