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Silvia Pavlof February 15, 2023 3 min read
Angry Self-Excluded Gambler Slams BetNation Fine as Too Low
Mark Kempster had requested a lifetime ban on gambling promotions but he still got an advertising email for BetNation’s latest betting campaign
The Guardian reported that BetNation, a major gambling firm that operates in Australia, sent promotional emails to over 7,000 customers, touting its services and inviting bets of up to AUD 1,000 ($691) on the Melbourne Cup horse race.
Expert Deems the Fine on BetNation as Small Change
Despite being on a self-exclusion list, Mark Kempster, a man from Tasmania, received an email about BetNation’s “Who wants to be a millionaire?” campaign.
As a result, the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC), which regulates online wagering companies in the state, imposed a fine of AUD 13,770 ($9,521) on the company, calling the breach “serious” and warning that it could harm people who were trying to avoid gambling. Yet the NTRC could have imposed a maximum fine of twice this amount.
Mark Kempster, who immediately after receiving the email filed a complaint, expressed outrage at the size of the fine, calling it “disgusting” and saying it would have no real impact on the company’s behavior. The NTRC defended the decision, saying it was intended to send a clear message to all gambling operators that breaches of the rules would not be tolerated.
A well-known consultant specializing in gambling research and based in the Northern Territory, Matt Stevens, also expressed his opinion on the issue. Stevens believes that a more effective compliance approach would have been for the NTRC to temporarily suspend the company’s gambling license, which was an available option.
He emphasized that the fines imposed on such companies are not proportionate to the amount of money they make, and therefore, in his opinion, they are nothing but a “pittance.”
Sending Ads to Self-Excluded Gamblers Could be Life-Altering
Mark Kempster expressed his disappointment with the NTRC’s imposed fine, which he deemed too low to have a significant impact on the online wagering industry’s behavior. According to Kempster, who previously worked in the sector, the amount of money flowing through these platforms is staggering, and even for smaller companies, the fine amount was a paltry sum.
Kempster’s own experience with gambling addiction is another reason why he is advocating for stronger regulatory measures. After failing to quit gambling 50 times over seven years, he eventually lost around AUD 100,000 ($69,116) and had to dip into his superannuation to pay off credit card debts.
He is now in recovery but worries about others who might be in the early stages of gambling addiction. Receiving gambling advertisements while on a self-exclusion list, as he did, could have life-altering consequences for those in recovery.