NSW Regulator Fines Unibet for Gambling Ad Rules Breaches
Betchoice, trading as Unibet, has been fined AU$60,000 (€36,462) by Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court for violating New South Wales gambling advertising laws.
Unibet was ordered to pay the fine after it was found offering illegal gambling inducements to the residents of New South Wales (NSW).
An investigation carried out by New South Wales Liquor & Gaming into Betchoice’s promotions revealed that the operator published advertisements that encouraged people to open betting accounts through ‘price push’ offers in the form of boosted or special odds.
This marketing strategy contravenes NSW Betting and Racing Act which prohibits operators from running gambling ads that could induce people to open accounts or participate in gambling frequently.
Betting operators have an obligation to ensure that all advertising complies with NSW laws on gambling advertising. Inducements are known to increase the risk of gambling harm, so any breaches are taken seriously. Betchoice has a record of previous convictions and was fined AU$ 48,000 in July 2021 for breaches of betting legislation. The advertisements on the subject of this most recent case were designed to entice people to engage with gambling products using special or enhanced odds, which is a breach of the legislation.
Betchoice lawyers pleaded guilty to two breaches under section 33H(1) of the Betting and Racing Act 1998. They have agreed to pay the financial penalties of AU$30,000 (€18,231) per offense. The court also ordered the company to pay the regulator’s costs for the investigation.
This case comes a month after NSW Liquor & Gaming issued a fine totaling AU$210,000 (€128,100) against Betr for breaching gambling regulations during its launch in 2022.
Will 2023 Be an Era of Fines?
As responsible gaming laws get more implemented across jurisdictions, there has been a sporadic rise in the number of operators charged for deliberately or unknowingly flouting these laws. In March 2023, NSW Liquor & Gaming also fined SportChamps AU$40,000 for publishing illegal gambling ads online.
Since the start of 2023, many operators have been fined in different markets for about the same offense relating to gambling ads. For instance, BML Group was recently issued a $2.6 million conditional fine for advertising breaches in Finland.
In the United Kingdom, Kwiff was also penalized this month for promoting its services on Portsmouth FC website.
According to industry fines tracker GamblingIndustryFines, in 2022, operators paid fines amounting to €251,712,034. That is a 4449 percent increase compared to 2021’s total of €44,753,969. From all indications, it is likely that the 2023 figures will surpass these amounts.
The top three causes of fines are gambling advertisements, underage or minor gambling, and licensing breaches.