Two-up is a traditional Australian gambling game that plays by an elected person that has no stake in the game tossing two coins in the air. This is a lot like the American version of heads or tails but with a money stake involved. Players bet on whether the coins will fall with both heads up, both tails up, or with one coin a head and one a tail.
This is a very well-liked game in Australia but it is only legal one day per year, on Anzac Day and primarily in pubs, casinos, and clubs. The game is traditionally played with pennies but most people prefer a higher stake. The origin of Two-up is sketchy but it is best believed that it evolved amongst poorer English and Irish citizens in the 18th century. Two-up was played extensively by Australia's soldiers during World War I.
It didn’t take too long before illegal "two-up schools" grew around Australia and many were backed by corrupt police. The legendary Thommo's Two-up School, which operated at various locations in Surry Hills, Sydney from the early years of the 20th century until at least 1979, was one of Australia's first major illegal gambling operations.
After the 1950’s, Two up lost popularity and was eventually replaced with gambling like baccarat and slot games that were legal to play in clubs. Legal two-up arrived as a table game at the new casinos in Hobart in 1973, but is now only offered at Crown Perth and Crown Melbourne. In New South Wales, two-up can be played on not only Anzac day, but any other designated commemorative days.
Two-up is legal on Anzac Day, when it is played in Returned Servicemen's League (RSL) clubs and hotels. Several tourist "two-up schools" in the Outback have also been legalized. Under the NSW Gambling (Two-Up) Act 1998, playing two-up in NSW is not unlawful on Anzac Day.
However, there are certain conditions that must be met for Two up to be legal, even on Anzac Day. The Gambling (Two-up) Act requires that games are played on a not for profit basis, or in the case of a club: no entrance fee to a premises that is holding a two-up game is allowed. Also, clubs that host games of two-up must donate all proceeds to a charitable cause.