Sports betting companies are being prosecuted by the Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing for offering gambling incentives to NSW residents. Photo: Angela MilneThe NSW gaming watchdog has launched four new prosecutions against some of the biggest sports betting companies in the country as it ramps up its oversight of advertising campaigns offering rewards to punters.
The Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR) has put the sports betting industry on notice that it will not tolerate any form of gambling inducements to be published in NSW after launching prosecutions against Tabcorp Holdings Limited, Hillside (Australia New Media) Pty Limited trading as Bet365, the Packer-controlled CrownBet Pty Limited and Betchoice Corporation Pty Ltd trading as Unibet.
A spokesman for Tabcorp said they would be defending the charge. Crown Bet declined to comment and Bet365 and Unibet did not respond to requests for comment.
The watchdog has introduced higher fines, tougher rules and new offences, including expanded criminal offences, in its attempts to stop breaches of NSW regulations banning inducements in sports betting advertising campaigns.
It comes after the Queensland-based Ladbrokes Digital Australia Pty Limited was last month convicted on three counts of advertising illegal gambling inducements.
The OLGR prosecuted Ladbrokes for offering NSW residents inducements to gamble including “a chance to win up to $1000 in every day bonus bets” during their published “Daily Free Bet Challenge”. Ladbrokes was fined a total of $7500 and ordered to pay OLGR’s legal costs of $18,000.
In September, Northern Territory-based Sportsbetting苏州美甲美睫培训学校419论坛 Pty Limited was convicted of publishing an advertisement on its website offering 100 per cent bonuses to new clients who deposited funds into betting accounts. NSW residents were not excluded from the offer. The company was convicted and fined $1650 and ordered it to pay costs of $1800.
ClassicBet Pty Ltd, was also convicted in September of illegal gambling advertising and fined $1000 and ordered to pay $4500 in legal costs. OLGR prosecuted ClassicBet after it published a website advertisement accessible to NSW residents which promoted a “Premium Rewards Program” promising punters will be “rewarded for every bet you place, regardless whether you WIN or LOSE” and offering bonus bets and rewards including shopping vouchers, sports tickets and holidays.
OLGR’s director of compliance and enforcement, Anthony Keon, said they are monitoring gambling related advertisements across all mediums and will take regulatory action if they are found to breach NSW’s Racing Administration Regulation 2012, which prohibits publishing advertising that offers NSW an inducement to gamble or open a betting account.
“Licensed wagering operators and their agents should ensure NSW residents are not eligible to participate in gambling inducement offers that breach NSW law and strengthen their controls and systems to ensure compliance and reduce the risk of regulatory action,” said Mr Keon.
From this month, the government has expanded a current ban on advertising inducements to gamble so that it captures all types of inducements offered to NSW residents, not just any “credit, voucher or reward”. The maximum penalty is $5500 for breaches.
From March next year, NSW will ban “live odds” gambling advertising on sporting fixtures while they are underway, if there is a prescribed sports controlling body for an event.
Exemptions may apply to fixtures that run for more than four hours or over multiple days, unless deemed not in the public interest.
This new offence, with criminal breaches attracting a maximum penalty of $5500, will apply to any person who publishes prohibited gambling advertising – including wagering operators, broadcasters, commentators or others.
Also in March next year, there will be a new offence – with a penalty of up to $11,000 for a corporation and $5500 or 12 months imprisonment for an individual – if an unlicensed betting service provider offers bets on a NSW sporting event that is the subject of an integrity agreement between a sports controlling body and a licensed betting service provider.
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