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Australia Toughens Stance on Sports Bookies

Let’s set the backdrop. It’s March, and Australian Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian’s government launches a spate of bans on enticing sign-up bonuses for the online betting industry. The bans are part of a previous negotiation between the government and territory gambling ministers that had been agreed upon back in 2017.

And so, the putative end of all free bets has transpired. Credits and other financial lures had also been targeted in the measure, hoping that the government will crack down on any operator trying to incentivize customers into gaming under the premise of “free money.”

The Law is the Law

Last Monday, the law came into effect, dragging solid penalties with it to the tune of $55,000 for all operators who offer inducement in the state.

Interestingly the guidelines published by the Liquor and Gambling NSW have clarified that the new inducement policies are “not intended to be enforced” when it comes to ads that are published on existing platforms that are exclusively dedicated to racing content. Meanwhile, substantial efforts have been made to rein in problem gambling.

A handful of industry leades have been trying to oppose the movement, including News Corp Australia, along with the actual operators represented by bet365, Betfair, CrownBet, Sportsbet, Unibet, and Ladbrokes. Their opposition is quite understandable, as all of the above-mentioned brands will be affecte by the anticipated changes.

However, the proposed changes are not actually an attempt to exempt cronies from the regulations. The racing industry doesn’t fall under the same category as operators. Unlike the other businesses mentioned here, the main source of revenue for the racing industry is from customer’s wagers. There’re no false premises of bonus money that come for free.

The regulatory course set in the new law is in fact true. Operators often use the word “free” to induce gamers into staking higher sums, thinking they are not wagering their own money in the process. In fact, the only way to obtain the “free” money, in most cases, is to wager your own money beforehand.

The drawback is that many customers overlook the wagering requirements, they deposit the full amount possible, usually hundreds of dollars, and end up with hefty playthrough requirements that cannot be cleared as easily.

NSW Responds in Earnest

New South Whales has a stake in making sure that the gambling industry avoids using nefarious practices to impose its own interest. NSW, for example, has registered that the yearly losses on the 94,000 poker machines available throughout the state amount to $7 billion a single year.

The main objective of the legislation is not only to enforce majors that will reflect better on the state’s coffer but to get gamers from the way of harm. By reining in advertisement and introducing specific language, the majority of punters will be less prone to reckless gambling practices.

Australia already has one of the most problematic gambling audiences. People in the country are increasingly falling victim to destructive behaviour and with the industry not yet quite regulated, offshore operators easily lure in vulnerable gamers. The containment of mass-ads that promulgate language of inducement may be a good way to start addressing some of the most worrying issues the country has.

Simon Deloit

Simon is a freelance writer who specialises in gambling news and has been an author in the poker/casino scene for 10+ years. He brings valuable knowledge to the team and a different perspective, especially as a casual casino player.