Entain Group to Pay $26,690 for Breaching Code of Conduct

The NT Racing Commission has fined top gambling operator Entain Group after it found the operator breaching a serious code of conduct by offering punters codes that triggered "bonus cash" rewards when they register new accounts on its Neds website.

The Northern Territory Commission is a group that licenses and regulates the activities of online sportsbooks in the Northern Territory where Entain holds a license. The commission has a specific rule in its "Code of Practice for Responsible Service of Online Gambling" that forbids companies from offering credit, vouchers, or rewards to attract people to sign up.

Entain Group, which has several gambling brands in its portfolio like Sportingbet, Ladbrokes, and Neds, was found to be violating this rule by offering bonuses to an individual "or any others who opened a Neds account using the QR code on his business card."

"The commission considers the offering of incentives to non-existing customers to open a betting account is an extremely serious breach of the 2019 code," a decision published this week.

The NT Commission launched an investigation into the company's actions after a member overhead a conversation between a racegoer and a Neds' agent at Darwin's Fannie Bay racecourse on July 31, where the representative offered the racegoer a business card containing a QR code that rewards players with bonuses when they open a Neds account.

Putting it to test, the commission member obtained the card and was truly offered three bonus cash options, ranging from $150 to $250 after scanning the QR code and signing up. Other punters who had scanned the card attested to receiving $1000 with the same amount, while others got $400.

Entain, in its defense, argued that although two of its business development managers were at the racecourse, they didn't offer bonus bets to potential customers. Rather, they were offering matched deposits to existing customers, which is permissible under the law.

However, the company that recently sold its second-biggest betting exchange terminated the services of the two managers for doing what is contrary to their training on sign-up bonuses, and it expected the termination to end the whole issue.

Nevertheless, the commission blamed Entain Group for giving the managers the business cards in the first place. However, the maximum fine of $26,690 is the only sanction Entain Group would be receiving for the breach at this time since the commission decided against suspending or canceling its license.