March 7, 2023 3 min read


Aussie MP Calls for Tougher Penalties on Gambling Companies

Australian independent MP Andrew Wilkie has called for legislative changes that would impose higher fines on sports gambling companies that breach their license conditions

Wilkie’s call comes after the Northern Territory Racing Commission fined Ladbrokes AUD78,540 ($52,624) for breaching its license and failing to limit the damage caused by former financial adviser Gavin Fineff, who stole more than AUD8 million ($5.4 million) from his clients to feed his gambling addiction.

MP Wilkie Slams Ladbrokes “Slap on the Wrist” Fine

Although Andrew Wilkie welcomed the decision, he underlined in a statement published on his website that the fine on Ladbrokes was just a “slap on the wrist” considering the seriousness of the offense. 

According to Wilkie, Ladbrokes failed to check if Fineff could afford to gamble, despite him having lost millions of dollars with other bookies. Instead, Ladbrokes offered Fineff incentives such as bonus bets, which Wilkie called “downright appalling behavior.”

To address this issue, Wilkie introduced his Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Amendment (Making Gambling Businesses Accountable) Bill 2022 in consultation with Fineff. The Bill would impose a positive obligation on gambling companies to report to AUSTRAC if they have reason to suspect a person is paying for a gambling service with money they have obtained illegally.

Wilkie believes that if his Bill was in place, the AUD758,510 ($508,470) Fineff lost to Ladbrokes would have been returned to the victims of his crime and not been kept by the company. The Bill would also ensure that gambling companies take responsibility for their actions and do not prey on vulnerable individuals with addiction problems.

Criticism Mounts Over Insufficient Fines for Gambling Companies’ Misconduct

MP Wilkie was not the only one to raise concerns against the low fine imposed on Ladbrokes. Financial Counselling Australia’s director of policy and campaigns, Lauren Levin, also spoke out against the company. According to Levin, the operator failed to fulfill its legal and moral obligation to protect its customers, specifically in relation to the Fineff case. Levin criticized the company’s lack of awareness about Fineff’s condition, which could result in a lengthy prison sentence.

Levin also argued that Ladbrokes operated on an outdated mindset of “get as much as you can, as quickly as you can” and she encouraged the victims of this case to seek their lost funds. 

Recently, there has been an ongoing issue with gambling companies receiving relatively small fines compared to their revenue. For instance, Bet Nation was recently fined $13,770 after they sent promotional offers to numerous gamblers who had already requested to be banned from betting. 

Similarly, Betr, a company supported by Newscorp, was fined $77,000 for directly reaching out to a man on the self-exclusion register and encouraging him to create an account. These fines seem insignificant compared to the large profits made by gambling companies.


Silvia has dabbled in all sorts of writing – from content writing for social media to movie scripts. She has a Bachelor's in Screenwriting and experience in marketing and producing documentary films. With her background as a customer support agent within the gambling industry, she brings valuable insight to the Gambling News writers’ team.

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