Four new prosecutions have been launched by the New South Wales (NSW) gaming watchdog against some of the country’s largest sports betting companies as it increases its efforts to oversee advertising campaigns offering rewards to punters.
Prosecutions were launched by the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR) against Hillside (Australia New Media) Pty Limited trading as Bet365, Tabcorp Holdings Limited, the Packer-controlled CrownBet Pty Limited and Betchoice Corporation Pty Ltd trading as Unibet. The message to the sports betting industry sent by the OLGR is that it will no longer tolerate gambling inducements in any form to be published in NSW. A Tabcorp spokesman said they would be defending the charge, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
In its attempts to stop the NSW’s regulations that ban inducements in sports betting ad campaigns from being breeched the watchdog has introduced tougher rules, higher fines, and new offenses, including expanded criminal offences. The prosecution comes on the heels of last month’s conviction of the Queensland-based Ladbrokes Digital Australia Pty Limited. The company was successfully prosecuted for three counts of advertising illegal gambling documents. During their published “Daily Free Bet Challenge,” NSW residents were offered inducements to gamble by Ladbrokes including “a chance to win up to $1000 in every day bonus bets,” resulting in the OLGR prosecution. Ladbrokes was ordered to pay $18,000 for OLGR’s legal costs and fined a total of $7500.
Northern Territory-based Sportsbetting.com.au Pty Limited was convicted in September of publishing an advertisement on its website which offered new clients 100 percent bonuses for depositing funds into betting accounts. The offer did not exclude NSW residents. In that case a $1650 fine and $1800 in court costs were levied against the company.
Also convicted of illegal gambling advertising in September was ClassicBet Pty Ltd. The company was ordered to pay $4500 in legal costs and fined $1000. A website advertisement which promoted a “Premium Rewards Program,” and was accessible to NSW residents, promised that punters would be “rewarded for every bet you place, regardless whether you WIN or LOSE.” The advertisement also offered bonus bets and rewards including sports tickets, shopping vouchers and holidays.
Anthony Keon, OLGR’s director of compliance and enforcement, said that all mediums of gambling related advertisements are being monitored and that if they are found to be in breach of NSW’s Racing Administration Regulation 2012, regulatory action will be taken. The regulation prohibits publishing advertising that offers inducement to open a betting account or gamble to NSW residents.