Australian sportsbooks issued with record AU$207,500 fine for gambling inducements

Australian sportsbooks Ladbrokes and Neds have been issued with the biggest fine of its kind ever issued in the state of New South Wales after being found guilty of offering illegal gambling inducements to residents.

Subject to a potential appeal, the companies have been fined AU$207,500 (US$140,000) after an investigation Liquor & Gaming NSW relating to four Ladbrokes and two Neds ads that ran across Channel 7, Instagram and Facebook in 2018. Ladbrokes is the parent company of Neds, having acquired the smaller operator in an AU$95 million deal in late 2018.

According to Liquor & Gaming NSW, the companies breached NSW law by offering bonus bets to new customers who signed up and made a deposit. Under the NSW Betting and Racing Act, it is an offence to publish a gambling advertisement that includes any inducement to participate or participate frequently, in any gambling activity.

“Inducements are known to increase the risk of gambling harm and these advertisements reached a broad segment of the population,” said Liquor & Gaming NSW Assistant Director of Compliance, Dimitri Argeres. “In NSW such advertisements are restricted to registered betting account holders.

“This record fine should serve as a reminder that betting operators have an obligation to ensure their gambling advertising complies with NSW laws.

“Penalties of this magnitude are not easily absorbed into running costs.”