Australia, like some other countries, is taking a harder stance on how gambling operators advertise. New South Wales (NSW) is coming down on a repeat offender and is apparently getting frustrated with a lack of improvement in compliance.
Following Liquor & Gaming NSW’s investigations, Australia’s largest online wagering firm SportsBet was convicted once again of gambling advertising violations. This time, the company was fined AU$135,000 (US $99,495).
NSW Gaming Regulator Laying Down the Law
Marcel Savary, the Compliance Director for Liquor & Gaming NSW, stated that the message was not reaching some wagering businesses. He said they continue to disregard New South Wales’ gambling advertising laws. Savary said that the regulator already had 119 prosecutions for breaching the provisions, up from 31 in 2020, against seven operators.
Research by the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling in 2020 revealed the vast majority of the community is not happy with the current style of wagering advertising, with 81 percent believing gambling advertising increases the risk of people developing a gambling problem,” Liquor & Gaming NSW Compliance Director Marcel Savary.
Savary added that there is a decline in participation of many forms of gambling in NSW, but an increase in the number of online bets. The latter accounts for 70% of all betting on sport and 37% on race betting.
“Liquor & Gaming NSW consistently expresses concerns to industry about gambling advertising, and will continue to monitor compliance with these laws and take strong action for serious and blatant offending,” he asserted.
SportsBet Accused of Several Breaches
SportsBet was found guilty of a few missteps by the regulator. Account owners are said to have received prohibited gambling marketing material via email from SportsBet, starting in October 2020 through March 2021. After opting out of direct marketing, they were still receiving the ads. Because of the confusing functionality and unsubscribe option, repeated attempts to unsubscribe proved unsuccessful.
In addition, between November 2-24 of last year, an audit of Sportsbet.com.au’s social media accounts was done. There were also identified prohibited gambling advertisements that referred to Treasure Punt.
The Betting and Racing Act 1998 stipulates that it is illegal to publish gambling advertisements that offer any inducement to participate in or frequent in any gambling activity. It also makes it an offense to induce players to open an account. It is also illegal to provide gambling advertisements without the consent of the account holder. These offenses carry a maximum penalty amounting to $110,000.
SportsBet is becoming familiar with the fine process in NSW after violating the advertising restrictions a couple of times. It was assessed AU$22,000 (US $16,190) in fines by Downing Centre Local Court this past March for similar missteps.
The company is entitled to appeal any sentence.
Gambling Crackdown Leads to Campaign Creation
NSW is betting on the creation of anti-gambling programs to help reduce consumer access to gambling ads. Betiquette and Reclaim the Game are government-led campaigns that aim to counter gambling advertising and to support those at high risk of gambling harm.
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