Tabcorp Faces Fine in NSW and Victoria over Advertising Breaches
Australia's leading gambling operator, Tabcorp, has recently faced significant penalties in two states for breaching advertising and operational regulations. The company's actions have raised concerns about the effectiveness of its internal controls and its commitment to responsible gambling.
Cautionary Tale on Gambling Advertisements and Compliance
In New South Wales (NSW), Tabcorp was slapped with a fine of AU$15,000 (£7,940/€9,164/US$9,717) for violating advertising and promotion rules. The company had displayed an advertisement on its website that included an inducement to gamble.
This advertisement was accessible to all visitors, regardless of whether they held an account with Tabcorp. Such promotions, which encourage gambling, are strictly prohibited under NSW laws.
The Downing Centre Local Court determined that since the advertisement was openly viewable, it was in direct violation of NSW regulations. Jane Lin, the Liquor & Gaming NSW executive director of regulatory operations, commented on the issue, stating, "Tabcorp is a large corporation, and we expect an operator of this magnitude to have robust internal controls. They should be more vigilant to prevent the public from being exposed to gambling inducements."
She further clarified that while gambling promotions can be legally offered to betting account holders, wagering operators are prohibited from advertising or promoting inducements to entice individuals to open betting accounts or gamble more frequently.
The state also bans inducements related to account referrals, keeping an account open, or consenting to receive gambling advertising. Operators found in violation of these rules can face penalties up to $100,000, and individuals publishing prohibited ads can be fined up to $11,000.
Additional Troubles for Tabcorp
This isn't the only recent setback for Tabcorp. Earlier this month, the company was penalized in Victoria with a much heftier fine of $1m, marking a record in the state. This penalty was linked to Tabcorp's conduct during a system outage in 2020, specifically during the Spring Racing Carnival.
The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission criticized Tabcorp for not providing adequate information about the outage voluntarily and for its overall conduct during the subsequent investigation. The regulator highlighted Tabcorp's "repeated failure" to adhere to directives, leading to the record fine.
These incidents underscore the importance of gambling operators adhering to regional regulations and maintaining transparency with both regulators and the public. As Tabcorp navigates these challenges, it serves as a reminder to the industry about the significance of responsible advertising and operations.