SportChamps Fined $17,500 for Repeated Gambling Inducements in NSW
Online betting operator SportChamps faces a $17,500 fine for its continued practice of inducing gambling and account openings, marking its eighth conviction for similar offenses in recent years.
Repeated Offenses Lead to Substantial Fine for SportChamps
SportChamps, an online betting operator, has been fined $17,500 by the Downing Centre Local Court for inducing people to gamble and open betting accounts. This fine follows seven previous convictions for similar offenses. The company pleaded guilty to two offenses under the Betting and Racing Act. This action was the result of a thorough investigation by Liquor & Gaming NSW into advertisements on SportChamps’ website and Facebook pages, which included phrases like “Punt for free. Learn the game!” and “Receive a free bet each day”.
In New South Wales (NSW), it is illegal to publish or offer inducements to open a betting account, a regulation in place to protect individuals from gambling harm.
Liquor & Gaming NSW’s Stance on Gambling Inducements
Jane Lin, the Executive Director of Regulatory Operations at Liquor & Gaming NSW, expressed serious concern over SportChamps’ repetitive violations. “SportChamps has seven previous convictions for gambling advertising offences from 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2021,” Ms. Lin noted. She emphasized the unacceptable nature of SportChamps’ continued disregard for laws designed to minimize gambling harm.
SportChamps’ latest offenses involved attempts to attract new customers and increase market share, blatantly ignoring state gambling laws. Once an account was created on their platform, users were granted access to the SportChamps Tournament Betting Lobby webpage, which offered both free and paid gaming tournaments.
The Legal Boundaries of Gambling Advertising in NSW
Ms. Lin clarified the legalities surrounding wagering operators’ advertising strategies. While it’s permissible to advertise betting products in various ways, inducements like offers of increased odds or bonus bets to entice account openings are strictly prohibited. Such offenses, she stated, have the potential to undermine the entire regulatory framework, hence the zero-tolerance approach towards this type of advertising.
In NSW, advertising any form of inducement to participate in gambling activities, including inducements to bet more frequently, open betting accounts, refer friends for account openings, keep an account open, or consent to receive gambling advertising, is prohibited. The maximum penalty for corporations publishing prohibited gambling advertising is $110,000, and $11,000 for individuals.
A Reflection on SportChamps’ Gambling Inducements and Regulatory Compliance
The repeated offenses and subsequent fine imposed on SportChamps highlight a significant challenge in the online betting industry: balancing aggressive marketing strategies with strict regulatory compliance. SportChamps’ consistent failure to adhere to NSW’s gambling advertising laws not only resulted in substantial financial penalties but also raised concerns about the effectiveness of regulatory measures in preventing gambling harm.
This case serves as a cautionary tale for other operators in the industry, emphasizing the importance of ethical advertising practices in the highly regulated world of online betting.