Australian Regulator Names Operators That Breached User-Generated Code Rules

December 18, 2023
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Australia’s online gambling regulator has found that Entain subsidiaries Ladbrokes and Neds, Flutter subsidiary Sportsbet, and bet365 breached the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 by offering “fast/quick code” facilitators for online in-play betting.
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Australia’s online gambling regulator has found that Entain subsidiaries Ladbrokes and Neds, Flutter subsidiary Sportsbet, and bet365 breached the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 by offering “fast/quick code” facilitators for online in-play betting.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on Friday (December 15) said customer embedding of in-play betting data into “fast/quick codes” via websites or apps, followed by quoting the code by telephone, violates the requirement that betting data “must be provided by a customer wholly via the phone call”.

However, the ACMA did not issue fines, citing the companies’ “steps to ensure their use of Fast/Quick Codes complies with relevant interactive gambling rules.”

“These steps mean that Fast/Quick Codes will be generated by the operator prior to the events commencing, independent of (the) customer selecting that bet,” the ACMA statement said.

“They will be generic and the same for all customers.”

In associated investigation reports dated October 19, the ACMA said its probe into Entain, Sportsbet and bet365 was triggered by a single customer complaint.

The otherwise identical reports into the companies noted their fast/quick codes had been operational on their apps or websites since June 2018, June 2017 and February 2017, respectively.

The investigators dismissed all submissions received from the companies in defence of codes containing customer-generated data.

The use of fast/quick codes to promote the more laborious, but legal, practice of making in-play bets by telephone or at retail outlets is not the first technical gambit to offend the regulator.

Federal and state or territory online gaming regulators cracked down on envelope-pushing “click to call” functions some ten years ago, with federal parliament eventually banning them among other online in-play betting products in its updating of the Interactive Gambling Act.

As with betting on lotteries, retail wagering monopolies had opposed the legalisation of online in-play betting because of a feared loss of market share.

The post-amendment ban on in-play betting was first formally enforced by the ACMA at the expense of Tabcorp Holdings in 2021.

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