Betchoice was fined Aus$25,000 ($17,115) on December 16, by the Sydney Downing Centre Local Court for making unlawful offers of gambling inducements to customers in New South Wales, Australia. Betchoice, which operates as Unibet in Australia, was found to be in violation of the NSW Betting and Racing Act.
The charge originated from an advertisement provided by the company in February 2019. The company stated in that ad: “Earn $50 CASH For Each Friend You Refer!” Another advertisement that appeared in November of last year on the website for The Canberra Times ran an offer that stated: “Deposit $20, Bet with $100.”
It is unlawful to publish any type of gambling which “includes any inducement to participate, or participate frequently, in any gambling activity (including an inducement to open a betting account),” according to the NSW Betting and Racing Act. In case of such an action, the agency may impose a fine of up to $110,000.
As reported by calvinayre.com, the law says that these promotions can only be offered to those having a registered betting account in the state where the ad is shown. This is the reason the company came in violation. Since the ad was visible to anyone on the newspaper’s website, that made it in violation of the law. The same holds true for the Betchoice website as people were not required to log into their individual accounts to watch the advertisement.
Sean Goodchild, Liquor & Gaming NSW director of compliance operations, said in a statement, “Betting operators have an obligation to ensure that all advertising complies with NSW laws on gambling advertising. Inducements are known to increase the risk of gambling harm so any breaches are taken seriously.”
Unibet had found themselves in trouble with the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling before. For illegally running an ad of inducement in August 2015, they were fined $7500 and ordered to pay an additional $5000 in professional costs.
Moreover, this past summer, Unibet received a €470,000 fine from the Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit. This came following the company targeting Dutch customers without legally being able to do so.
This law has been enacted as government officials have become more and more concerned about the risk of harm caused by gambling. As Mr. Goodchild observed, these types of inducements have been found to increase the risk of harm caused by gambling, so the agency has responded quickly to breaches of the law.