Ladbrokes and Neds fined record amount

by Noah Taylor Last Updated
Wahlberg stars in new Ladbrokes ad 

Two Australian bookmakers have been slapped with a record fine in New South Wales over illegal gambling advertising activities.

Casino News Daily reports that last week, New South Wales’ Liquor and Gaming authority has fined Ladbrokes Australia and Neds a record $207,500 for offering state residents inducements to gamble in a manner that breached local rules and regulations.

Both Ladbrokes and Neds are owned by gambling group GVC Holdings.

The six-figure fine the two brands were recently hit with is the largest ever issued by Liquor and Gaming New South Wales.

The New South Wales gambling watchdog found during an investigation that Ladbrokes and Neds released a number of gambling ads across a local television channel and social media site that offered bonus bets to bettors who opened new accounts with the operators.

One of the ads stated: “Deposit $50, get $250 in bonus bets.”

Under New South Wales gambling law, locally licensed sports betting operators are prohibited from publishing gambling advertisements that include inducements for bettors to participate or participate frequently in gambling activities.

Both Ladbrokes and Neds violated rules by offering bonus bets to new account holders.

Inducements not allowed in NSW

The Downing Centre Local Court last week ruled that the two sports betting brands had breached New South Wales law and should be hit with a hefty fine.

Of the record fine issued, Liquor and Gaming New South Wales assistant director of compliance Dimitri Argeres said that “inducements are known to increase the risk of gambling harm and these advertisements reached a broad segment of the population.”

He went on to say that in New South Wales, bonus bets ads are restricted to existing betting account holders and that the record fine they issued “should serve as a reminder that betting operators have an obligation to ensure their gambling advertising complies with New South Wales laws.”

Ladbrokes and Neds can appeal the fine.

Unibet fined for NSW breaches

Bookmaker Unibet has been fined A$25,000 in New South Wales for advertising materials that violated the state’s Betting and Racing Act.

Casino News Daily reports the penalty was handed down last Monday in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court.

The Malta-headquartered international online gambling operator Kindred Group entered Australia’s sports betting scene in 2012, operating as Unibet Group.

It secured its entry into the Australian marketplace through the acquisition of local independent online bookmaker Betchoice.

At the time, Betchoice provided betting on various sports and horse races online, through a Northern Territory licence.

Unibet’s recent fine in New South Wales arose from two separate promotions.

The court issued the fine after an investigation of Liquor & Gaming New South Wales.

The first of two advertisements appeared on The Canberra Times’ website in November 2018.

It read, “Deposit $20, Bet with $100.”

The second promotion was on Unibet’s Australian website in February 2019 and said, “Earn $50 CASH For Each Friend You Refer!”

Both adverts offered inducements to bettors to participate in a gambling activity, but promotions of this type are prohibited under the New South Wales Betting and Racing Act.

Advertising could lead to harm

New South Wales’ gambling advertising rules state that the publication of a gambling advert that “includes any inducements to participate, or participate frequently, in any gambling activity” is considered an offence.

Such promotions can only be offered to holders of betting accounts with licensed operators.

In Unibet’s case, the contested two promotions could be seen by anyone who visited it’s website, without being required to log into their betting account.

The director of compliance operations at Liquor and Gaming New South Wales, Sean Goodchild said this week the two adverts clearly offered inducements to engage in a gambling activity or to open an account with Unibet.

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