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Fiona Simmons February 8, 2023 3 min read
Australian Regulator Fined Bet Nation but Some Believe More Should Be Done
Gambling policy experts argue that harsher fines and temporary license suspensions would be better when it comes to enforcing compliance
The Northern Territory Racing Commission fined Amused Australia, the firm behind Bet Nation, for promoting its products to self-excluded individuals. Experts are not certain whether the fine will be enough to make the company change its approach.
Bet Nation Promoted Promo Offerings to Excluded Persons
In December, the Northern Territory regulator fined Bet Nation, which breached the local regulations and promoted its products to self-excluded people.
According to the authority, on October 31, 2022, Bet Nation sent its promotional “Who wants to be a millionaire?” campaign to almost thousands of people. The company notified customers that it will accept bets of up to AUD1,000 during the Melbourne Cup and promised them various bonuses.
The commission was almost immediately contacted by a self-excluded person who reported the breach. Additional complaints from other customers followed, with many saying that the email campaign had distressed them.
In total, 7,713 emails were sent to persons not intended to, the Northern Territory Racing Commission reported. It added that 772 of them had excluded themselves from gambling.
Amused Australia later contacted these customers, apologizing for the error. The operator did not allow self-excluded people to play and promised that it will do everything possible to prevent such a mistake in the future. However, this wasn’t enough to avoid a fine.
The Operator Was Fined but This May Not Be Enough, Experts Believe
On December 15, the regulator said that it acknowledges that Amused Australia did not intentionally promote its products to self-excluded people. However, the operator’s offense was a serious one which is why it was slapped with a fine of 85 penalty units, or $9,579 (converted to USD, current conversion rates).
The commission published its decision, warning Northern Territory operators that breaches will not be tolerated.
However, certain specialists are not sure whether the measure would be enough to convince Amused Australia and Bet Nation to play by the rules. Matt Stevens, an honorary fellow at the Menzies School of Health Research and a gambling policy specialist, noted that the fine is minuscule with the amounts the company takes from players.
Stevens argues that the regulator should enforce fines that really make operators think twice before breaching the rules. He even proposed temporary license suspensions for the biggest offenders.
Meanwhile, Dr Samantha Thomas used the opportunity to remind people that Australia urgently needs a national regulator. According to her, centralizing gambling regulation would benefit the entire industry and ensure that operators are appropriately penalized when they do not meet regulatory standards.