It’s the first prosecution of its type in NSW, with sports betting company, UBet, convicted for illegal advertising that promotes getting on the piss while gambling, as well as offering some cheeky inducements to participate in gambling activity.
In Downing Centre Local Court yesterday, UBet Tas Pty Ltd pleaded guilty to two advertising breaches following an investigation by Liquor & Gaming NSW.
NSW’s Betting and Racing Regulation 2012 prohibits licensed wagering operators from publishing advertising that promotes the consumption of alcohol while gambling as well as advertising that might persuade NSW residents to participate in any gambling activity.
The case is the first prosecution in NSW for advertising that promotes alcohol consumption while gambling. Earlier this year, illegal advertising was used to lure in gamblers in NSW, with Unibet and Bet365 both pleading guilty to the alleged breaches.
UBet Tas Pty Ltd published a video advertisement on youtube.com called UBET Punters Academy. Students of gambling are shown learning how to gamble “head to head” on National Rugby League matches.
The students are holding partly filled glasses of alcohol and one is using his mobile phone while being advised that if he bets “head to head” he could have his bet returned even if he loses.
Liquor & Gaming NSW inspectors found that UBet’s website published an advertisement that offered “1,800 bonus points” for joining “UBET+Rewards Program”. A further webpage stated: “UBET believes that loyalty should be rewarded, and UBET+ rewards you for every dollar you spend on bets placed…”
Deputy Chief Magistrate Jane Mottley fined Ubet Tas Pty Ltd a total of $3,300 and ordered the company to pay Liquor & Gaming NSW’s professional costs of $4,500.
The Magistrate described the company’s claim that there was a misunderstanding of the ad placement as “naïve”, along with the claim the advertisements were withdrawn when brought to its attention.
Liquor & Gaming NSW’s acting director of compliance operations, Paul Irving, said the case served as a warning to betting agencies of the need to comply with NSW legislation relating to both advertising that induces gambling and advertising that promotes alcohol consumption while gambling.
“Our compliance staff continue to monitor advertising online and in other media as part of investigations into potential breaches of NSW’s Betting and Racing Regulation,” Irving said.
“As this case shows, companies that break the law can expect to face prosecution in court.”
Irving said this latest conviction follows several previous prosecutions of sports betting companies such as Unibet, Bet 365, CrownBet, Ladbrokes, Sportsbetting.com.au Pty Ltd and ClassicBet Pty Ltd. Court action is still pending for a number of other licensed wagering operators.