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Gambling Companies Circumvent Rules to Lure Gamblers in New South Wales
Major gambling companies have been slapped with fines in New South Wales for breaching new advertising rules banning free bet sign up offers
New South Wales-facing online gambling operators have been exploiting a legal loophole to lure gamblers to register and gamble with them, despite a recently adopted laws that ban inducements to gamble, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
NSW lawmakers passed last July a law that banned free bet sign up offers aiming to draw customers to gambling websites. Such promotions can only be featured on racing websites.
However, prosecutors have detected multiple violations of the rules since the new law took effect. Multiple online gambling companies have been found out to have used other websites to induce customers to gamble via free bet offers upon signing up. Apple’s app store has been one of the popular places where operators have featured such promotions to entice gamblers to register with them.
NSW gambling regulators have run an average of two prosecutions a month since July 2018 and have fined a number of gambling operators for breaching the new rules. However, critics of the current state of affairs have said that penalized companies considered such fines a “mere cost of doing business.”
Ladbrokes, bet365, PointsBet, Paddy Power’s Sportsbet, and Tabcorp have been just a few of the major gambling operations to have been convicted for offering promotions that have violated the new law. Since July 2018, NSW courts have imposed fines of nearly A$132,000 and additional court costs of just over $184,000.
”Responsible Gambling Conduct Needs to Improve”
Commenting on the recent findings, Liquor & Gaming NSW, the local gambling regulator, said that violators of the new rules risk facing fines of up to A$55,000 and that all potential breaches would be probed.
The regulator also revealed that all NSW-facing gambling companies have recently been put on notice “that responsible gambling conduct needs to improve.”
Charles Livingstone, an Associate Professor at Monash University, has told The Sydney Morning Herald that the fines are barely a slap on the wrist for gambling operators, given the massive revenues they operate with. Dr. Livingstone went on to explain that companies know that their advertising activities would earn them benefits much larger than the penalties they could be slapped with.
According to the scholar, wagering operators will continue “to flout the regulations” until regulators have both “the capacity and the willingness to cancel or suspend licenses.”
Dr. Livingstone also commented on the fact that most of the online betting operators are licensed in the Northern Territory, which makes their prosecution in other jurisdictions harder to happen. The scholar believes a solution to that issue would be the implementation of federal regulations across all Australian states and territories.
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