Australia's Tabcorp Warned Over Illegal In-Play Bets

November 18, 2021
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Australia’s national online gaming regulator has issued a formal warning to wagering and lottery giant Tabcorp Holdings for accepting online in-play bets and paying out winnings on the illegal activity.

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Australia’s national online gaming regulator has issued a formal warning to wagering and lottery giant Tabcorp Holdings for accepting online in-play bets and paying out winnings on the illegal activity.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said in a statement on Thursday that Tabcorp on January 3 processed 37 in-play bets on a college basketball game in the US.

Acting on a complaint, the ACMA opted for a warning over tougher measures such as litigation because technical errors were allegedly responsible for the bets taking place.

Tabcorp told the ACMA that it “failed to close betting in time due to incorrect match information from a third-party provider, followed by a technical error by Tabcorp".

“Upon realising the mistake, Tabcorp paid out winning bets and refunded losing bets, with one being refunded only after the ACMA commenced its investigation,” according to the regulator’s statement.

The warning is the first ever issued by the ACMA over in-play betting, which breaches the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 if conducted online.

The ACMA also chided Tabcorp over paying out winnings on the illegal bets.

“The ACMA considered that the paying out of winning bets by Tabcorp was inappropriate and that all illegal bets should have been voided so that neither operators or punters benefit from prohibited activity,” ACMA member Fiona Cameron said.

“The industry is now on notice that it must have robust systems in place to prevent in-play bets and that the ACMA will investigate evidence of non-compliance with these important consumer safeguards,” she said.

Tabcorp is also among 11 corporate bookmakers being prosecuted by the New South Wales gambling regulator over gambling advertising breaches, the latest tranche in a long line of such prosecutions in Australia's most populous state.

Meanwhile, in another first, the ACMA has issued blocking requests to Australian internet service providers for two offshore lottery websites.

The ACMA said on Wednesday that the purportedly Curaçao-registered Red Fox Lotto and UK-registered We Love Lotto “offer tickets in major overseas online lotteries and are not licensed in Australia”.

The ACMA routinely issues blocking orders for offshore casino websites that openly target Australian customers or that generate customer complaints.

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