For the last 200 years, or pretty much since European migration, Australians have been playing Two Up. I’ve never played but it seems to involve placing two coins on a ‘kip’ (a flat piece of wood), tossing them in the air and betting on how they come down.
It’s very much associated now with the “Diggers” of the 1st World War but was played for many years in pubs and on street corners around the country. It’s illegal (well, it’s public gambling without a licence) EXCEPT for one day of the year.
Today. ANZAC Day (25th April).
I was reminded of this as I was in the City today and everywhere I went there was an incredible amount of noise coming from the beer gardens of the pubs around town as large numbers gathered for their traditional ANZAC Day afternoon of betting on the fall of two coins.
I love the tradition of it, though I’m not a lover of gambling in general, but as Bob Carr, the then-Premier of New South Wales, reported in Parliament in 2004:
“One of the charities most involved in problem gambling, the Wesley Community Legal Service, a body dealing with problem gamblers, has confirmed that it has never encountered a problem gambler addicted to two up. That is an interesting bit of trivia for everyone to take home with them.”
I would imagine the drinking that accompanies it causes far more problems.