Last week, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced that close to 750 illegal gambling sites had been officially blocked from Australian players, with Highway Casino, Online Casinos Australia, and Vave joining the list after they were found to breach the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. In February, ACMA discovered six other service providers that were found to operate illegally in the country.
Now, the leading sports and racing betting agency in Australia BetChoice which is officially traded as Unibet has been fined AU$60,000 ($39,660) plus costs after it was discovered that the operator had been offering a series of illegal gambling promotions and inducements to residents from New South Wales.
The Penalty, Imposed by a Court in Sydney
The Liquor & Gaming NSW which regulates all gaming, wagering, liquor, and registered clubs in New South Wales announced that the fine was issued by a court in Sydney on 22 May, at the end of an elaborate investigation into the promotions offered by Unibet.
According to the results of the investigation, the respective promotions featured a series of inducements in the form of booster odds and price pushes meant to encourage players to take part in gambling activities and register for new accounts.
According to the NSW Betting and Racing Act, the publication of gambling advertisements that include any type of inducement to register or frequently take part in any form of gambling activity, including inducements to open betting accounts is considered an offense.
According to Liquor & Gaming NSW executive director of regulatory operations and enforcement Jane Lin, betting operators need to make sure that “all advertising complies with NSW laws on gambling advertising”. Lin added that since inducements have been proven to boost the risk of gambling harm, “any breaches are taken seriously.”
Not the First Fine for BetChoice
The company that prides itself on providing “great odds, the best customer experience, and a wide range of choices for the customer to choose from in terms of betting preferences” has been fined in the past for breaching betting regulations.
In July 2021, the Australian operator was fined AU$48,000 ($31,730) for posting three illegal gambling ads at the end of a similar investigation completed by Liquor & Gaming NSW. On July 15, Unibet pleaded guilty to all three offenses. The company was also asked to cover the $3,900 legal costs.
In 2019, Unibet received another $15,000 fine for having breached the betting legislation in a similar manner, offering advertisements designed to convince people to engage with their gambling products.