Sportsbet Receives $22,000 Fine For Illegal Bonuses
The biggest online sports betting site in Australia, Sportsbet, is in hot water for the second time in two years. New South Wales gambling regulators convicted Sportsbet of running an illegal gambling advertisement and levied a $22,000 fine.
Sportsbet received a $10,000 fine and was ordered to pay 47,300 court costs in 2019. An advertisement featuring two cartoon males saying, “Refer a Friend – Get a $100 Bonus Bet for every friend you refer to join sportsbet.com.au” saw the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA) step in.
Australian gambling firms cannot publish ads inducing customers to participate frequently in gambling. Sportsbet pleaded guilty to the charges, took its licks, and paid the fine.
Sportsbet Falls Foul of the Law, Again
The ILGA pounced on Sportsbet after the gambling giant published a horse racing gambling advert. The ad stated punters would get “$50 back in bonus bets” if their horse finished in second or third place in the races taking place on the weekend of June 13, 2020.
Sportsbet, again, pleaded guilty to breaking the laws laid out in 2018. However, it claimed human error was to blame for the full page advert appearing in the Daily Telegraph. The advert was destined for Melbourne’s Herald Sun. A staff member inadvertently sent it to its Sydney sister paper.
Magistrate Megan Greenwood convicted Sportsbet of breaching the Betting and Racing Act.
Tim Costello, chief advocate for the Alliance for Gambling Reform, called the paltry $22,000 fine a “drop in the ocean.” Flutter Entertainment owns Sportsbet; Flutter is one of the world’s biggest gambling company with a turnover of billions of dollars.
Sportsbet “no doubt factor in such fines as a cost of doing business”, Costello said.
Costello called for a blanket ban on gambling ads throughout Australia.
“Research shows three in four Aussie kids view gambling as a normal part of sport. That’s an absolute travesty. We stopped tobacco ads, and you can’t advertise pokies. We can end gambling ads too.”
Tom Waterhouse Faces 14 Charges of Breaching NSW’s Advertising Laws
Tom Waterhouse is next in line to face a grilling in court. The son of famous bookie Robbie Waterhouse and horse racing trainer Gai Waterhouse faces 14 charges of breaking NSW’s advertising laws.
The alleged offences took place between June and October 2020. Each charge relates to his bookmaking operation tomwaterhouse.com. Waterhouse stand accused of offering matched deposits, bonus bets, and favourable odds for creating an account or betting with his father’s betting company.
Waterhouse faces fines up to $150,000 should the ILGA prove him guilty as charged.
Tom Waterhouse’s business offers racing data and sells tips. His father’s business is a bookmaking enterprise.
Robbie Waterhouse was caught up in the aftermath of the Fine Cotton affair. Courts found Robbie guilty of lying to them when he gave evidence of a ring-in during a race in 1984. He served eight months in prison and banned from horse racing for 14 years.
ILGA Does Not Tolerate Law Breakers
The ILGA comes down hard on anyone breaching the NSW laws. It issued $324,450 in fines and $249,626 in costs to 25 bookmakers since 2015.
ILGA issued a massive $207,500 fine to Ladbrokes and Neds in February 2020. Both companies, owned by British gambling giant Entain, advertised illegal bonus bets on TV and social media channels.
Entain appealed the largest fine ever imposed by the ILGA. Entain’s appeal was successful, and the fine reduced to $159,000 plus $31,500 in costs.
Tabcorp is another Australian gambling entity that felt the wrath of the ILGA. It paid an $18,000 fine in December 2020 after the ILGA found it guilty of promoting illegal inducements on Instagram.