Online gambling companies have been using social media sites to invite new sign-ups.
A problem gambler in Australia, who closed his betting account with another bookmaker a few years ago, told The Age that he was approached by Ladbrokes using professional social media site LinkedIn to sign up for a “matched deposit” of up to $500. It was not the first time that he was contacted by other gambling companies as he began receiving unsolicited calls and text message invitations to sign up months after closing his account.
The Responsible Gambling Ministerial Advisory Group, which has been assigned to look into the matter, said that “the Andrews Labor government is concerned about the practice of corporate bookmakers making unsolicited offers to non-account holders through referrals from existing account holders.”
“Using sites like LinkedIn to target gamblers is a new low. When your mobile phone is being targeted by your bookie you can never be safe,” said Tim Costello of the Alliance for Gambling Reform. “These gambling companies aren’t breaking the law. They are sadly way ahead of the law. Our politicians must do more to keep up with technology so they can actually protect people.”
According to a study conducted by Southern Cross University’s Centre for Gambling Education and Research, Ladbrokes, along with Aussie-licensed bookies CrownBet, Sportsbet, Bet365 and William Hill, were the top inducers in Australia.
Some states in Australia have already passed partial or total bans on betting operators offering inducements to attract punters.
In Victoria it is illegal for bookies to lure gamblers using free bets, credit or reward, to sign up. New South Wales has already fined online gambling companies such as ClassicBet and Sportsbetting.com.au for publishing adverts offering its residents any credit, voucher or reward. South Australia has also proposed changes to its gambling regulations prohibiting gambling companies to offer credit to customers without diligent process.