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UBET pushes Queensland government to stop inducements

Tue, Dec 13, 9:37am by Staff Writer

UBET has written to the Queensland Government urging it to act to ban advertising promoting free bets and sign-up bonuses with corporate bookmakers.

UBET, which is the retail arm of Tatts Group, who control the retail wagering license in Queensland, says that Queensland legislation must be reviewed to bring it into line with other states, which prohibit inducements.

Tatts CEO Robbie Cooke, who will leave the company should the proposed merger with Tabcorp proceed as planned, is determined to ensure UBET’s position in the market is preserved.

According to the Sunday Mail, he has written to Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath asking for action on the practice of offering free bets, sign-up bonuses and other inducements.

“UBET is concerned that Queensland’s regulatory landscape is inconsistent with other states’ regimes, in permitting ‘inducements’ to be offered by non-Queensland licensed wagering operators who specifically target Queensland residents to encourage wagering activity,” he wrote.

Mr Cooke said Tatts contributed more than $2 billion to the Queensland Government and racing industry through product fees, but that their major competitors, most of whom are based out of the Northern Territory, had offered little more than a ‘tokenistic amount.’

The Queensland Government oversees a Code of Practice which prevents signatories from offering inducement to potential clients.

However, the Code is voluntary and Tatts/UBET is the only signatory.

“Generally, the offering of inducements is contrary to Practice 6.10 of the Queensland Responsible Gambling Code of Practice which requires that ‘advertising or promotion does not involve any irresponsible trading practices by the gambling provider’,” Ms D’Ath said.

She said she favoured a nationwide approach to enforcement. But while there are consumer protection aspects to the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill which is currently before federal parliament, there is no specific aspect dealing with inducements.

Laws in other states expressly prohibit inducements to gamblers, and as recently April this year, Liquor and Gaming NSW prosecuted Crownbet over its promotions, fining the bookmaker $10,000. It followed fines for Bet365 and Unibet in January and Ladbrokes in December 2015.

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