Eleven Bookmakers To Be Prosecuted In NSW, Sportsbet Fined

November 10, 2021
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The gambling regulator in Australia’s New South Wales state is prosecuting 11 bookmakers in 15 cases, VIXIO GamblingCompliance has learned, with market leader Sportsbet the latest to be convicted.

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The gambling regulator in Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) state is prosecuting 11 bookmakers in 15 cases, VIXIO GamblingCompliance has learned, with market leader Sportsbet the latest to be convicted.

Liquor & Gaming NSW announced on Wednesday that Flutter-controlled Australian bookmaker Sportsbet has been convicted over advertising inducements for the second time this year and fined A$135,000 ($100,000), one of the largest such fines to date.

But Liquor & Gaming compliance director Marcel Savary also warned that much of the industry is not heeding state law, citing a surge in offences and prosecutions.

“So far this year Liquor & Gaming NSW have started more than double the number of prosecutions compared [with] last year, with 119 different counts of breaching the provisions brought against 14 operators, up from 31 counts against seven operators in 2020,” he said.

In response to a VIXIO inquiry, a Liquor & Gaming NSW spokesperson said prosecutions are currently under way against 11 operators (in alphabetical order): BetDeluxe; EliteBet; Palmerbet; Playup; Australian listco PointsBet; Picklebet; Realbookie; Rob Waterhouse; SportChamps; TAB (Tabcorp Holdings); and Tom Waterhouse Punting Pty Limited.

When asked if the government is considering prosecution of individual company directors or managers to stem growing non-compliance, as flagged by the NSW government in 2017, the spokesperson said: “The Betting and Racing Act 1998 provides a high threshold to bring charges against individual directors.

“However, where charges are appropriate in the context of the alleged breaches and are supported by admissible evidence, it would be strongly considered to bring charges against individuals.”

Sportsbet’s latest conviction in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court found that the company sent prohibited advertisements by email between last October and March to customers who withdrew consent to receive direct marketing materials.

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts linked to the company’s website also ran prohibited advertising in November 2020.

Sportsbet was previously fined A$22,000 for advertising breaches on March 15 this year.

The betting company has also tested the limits of other Australian regulatory authorities in 2021, with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) earlier ordering the company to withdraw betting on the national stock market’s S&P/ASX 200 index.

Sportsbet was also connected to the Northern Territory Racing Commission’s fine of A$53,720 issued to BetEasy, a company folded into Sportsbet after the merger of parent companies Flutter and The Stars Group in late 2020.

Wednesday’s Liquor & Gaming NSW statement said research by the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling found in 2020 that “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".

“Participation in most forms of gambling in NSW is declining, but online betting is increasing with 70 percent of all sports betting and 37 percent of race betting now carried out online.”

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