BUSINESS

Australia’s PointsBet slapped with charges over gambling ads

TAGs: Australia, New South Wales, Pointsbet

A gambling operator in Australia has found the wrath of the New South Wales Liquor and Gaming Board (NSWLGB), the latest in a string of gambling companies to run afoul of the board. PointsBet was forced to appear in a New South Wales District Court to respond to a charge by regulators that the company was advertising its operations illegally. PointsBet pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a fine of AU$20,000 (about US$14,300).

austraila-based-pointsbet-slapped-over-gambling-adsAccording to the NSWLGB complaint, PointsBet had breached state law regarding the use of bonuses tied to new users. An ad was carried alongside the company’s app on Apple’s App Store, in which PointsBet offered bonuses for new depositing customers. The ad read, “ALL 40+ METRO RACES RUN 2ND UP TO $100 BACK.”

The ad reportedly enticed people to sign up and to gamble, in violation of Australian gambling laws. Magistrate G J Still said during a hearing on April 9 that it was possible the ad may not have been highly visible to the general public, but that it could still incentivize people to gamble.

According to the New South Betting and Racing Act, it is illegal to publish “a gambling advertisement that offers any inducement to participate, or participate frequently, in any gambling activity (including an inducement to open a betting account).”

PointsBet ultimately acknowledged the fact and pulled out the checkbook. The penalties could have been worse, as the fines can run as much as $55,000 ($34,000) and company directors can also be charged criminally.

The director of the NSWLGB, Sean Goodchild, asserted, “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, which is reflected in the fine.”

PointsBet isn’t the only company to be called out recently by the board. Sportsbet and Sportschamp have both been targets in recent weeks, accused of the same type of violations. Sportsbet was ordered to pay a fine of $10,000 ($6,641) and Sportschamp had to pay $2,500 ($1,581) in fines and $3,250 ($2,055) in legal fees.

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