Australian Merlehan Bookmaking-owned gambling operator TopSport has been caught advertising in violation with the local rules on adverts. As a result, the local regulatory body Liquor and Gaming New South Wales has charged TopSport with a $43,800 fine (AUD$60,000).
Breaking the Rules on Gambling Commercials
TopSport’s exact transgression breaches section 33H (1) of New South Wales’ Betting and Racing Act 1998. The section reads the following:
“(1) A non-proprietary association or licensed betting service provider or any other person must not publish or communicate, or cause to be published or communicated, whether from in or outside New South Wales, any gambling advertisement that may be accessible to a person in New South Wales and that contravenes any requirement of this section.
(a) for an individual—100 penalty units, or
(b) for a corporation—1000 penalty units.”
According to the act, it is illegal to publish any commercials that encourage any kind of participation in casual or frequent gambling activities in the state. Violation of this rule can yield as much as a fine of $80,000 (100 penalty units, meaning AUD$110,000).
The gambling operator admitted its mistake and pleaded guilty in Downing Centre’s Local Court. In total, the gaming operator had violated section 33H (1) three times. Two of the offenses were on TopSport’s own website, where it was actively promoting its enhanced “Top Up” odds feature to site visitors. The remaining violation was an advertisement of a promotion that TopSport offered to participants in Sporting Base’s weekly online tipping competition.
A Warning that Liquor and Gaming NSW is Watching
TopSport got off relatively lightly, as none of the violations received the maximum $80,000 fine. Instead, each offense was taxed with a $14,600 penalty, which totaled up to the final sum of $43,800. The gambling operator also had to pay Liquor and Gaming New South Wales for the legal costs surrounding the case.
Marcel Savary, compliance director of Liquor and Gaming NSW, said about the matter, “The laws are there for a reason.” He proceeded to provide arguments on why it was crucial to pursue a legal resolution to this law breach, explaining, “Enhanced odds and tipping competitions linked to betting accounts have the ability to induce people to open a betting account when they otherwise may be refraining from gambling, and they may encourage people to gamble more frequently.”
This is the first time TopSport was found guilty of breaching any regulatory rules, the Magistrate pointed out, according to Savary. However, Liquor and Gaming NSW’s compliance director explained that action was still needed in order to prevent future issues.
The regulatory body will continue closely watching the gambling industry in the state in order to act against any potential law breaches.