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Just days after the race that stops a nation, Australia’s largest online wagering company Sportsbet has been convicted again of gambling advertising breaches following investigations by Liquor & Gaming NSW.

In Downing Centre Local Court on Friday 5 November, the company was fined $135,000.

Liquor & Gaming’s Compliance Director Marcel Savary said the message was not getting through to some wagering companies who continue to break NSW gambling advertising laws.

“So far this year Liquor & Gaming NSW have started more than double the number of prosecutions compared to last year with 119 different counts of breaching the provisions brought against 14 operators, up from 31 counts against seven operators in 2020,” Mr Savary said.

“Research by the NSW Office of Responsible Gambling in 2020 revealed the vast majority of the community is not happy with the current style of wagering advertising, with 81 per cent believing gambling advertising increases the risk of people developing a gambling problem.

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“Participation in most forms of gambling in NSW is declining but online betting is increasing with 70 per cent of all sports betting and 37 per cent of race betting now carried out online.

“Liquor & Gaming NSW consistently expresses concerns to industry about gambling advertising and will continue to monitor compliance with these laws and take strong action for serious and blatant offending,” Mr Savary said.

The matters SportsBet was sentenced for include:

  • From October 2020 to March 2021, Sportsbet account holders received prohibited gambling advertisement via emails from Sportsbet after withdrawing consent to receive direct marketing. Repeated attempts to unsubscribe were unsuccessful due to the confusing functionality of the unsubscribe option.
  • Between 2 and 24 November 2020, a desktop audit of the Sportsbet.com.au social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) was carried out and prohibited gambling advertisements referring to Treasure Punt were identified.
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Under the Betting and Racing Act 1998, it is an offence to publish a gambling advertisement that offers any inducement to take part, or take part frequently, in any gambling activity, including an inducement to open a betting account. It is also an offence to unlawfully provide gambling advertisements directly after the betting account holder has withdrawn consent to receive such advertisements. The maximum penalty for these offences is $110,000.

This is the second time Sportsbet has appeared in court this year for breaching the advertising restrictions. In Downing Centre Local Court on 15 March 2021 Sportsbet was fined $22,000 for wagering advertising breaches.

Government-led programs and campaigns, such as Betiquette and Reclaim the Game, aim to counteract gambling advertising and support those at risk of gambling harm.

Anyone in need of free and confidential gambling harm support can contact GambleAware on 1800 858 858 or visit gambleaware.nsw.gov.au

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SportsBet has the right to appeal against the sentence imposed.

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