Liquor and Gaming New South Wales, the state’s regulator, appealed for a raise in the maximum fines for faulty gambling advertising. The authority seeks to discourage the NSW licensees from posting ads that are in breach of the regulations.
NSW’s Regulator Believes Fines Are Too Low
According to the current laws, operators risk a maximum fine of $77,100 (in USD) for posting an illegal ad. To elaborate, NSW considers all ads that incentivize people to play to be illegal. Moreover, it bans operators from tempting bettors with offers, even if the said offers are unavailable in NSW.
Anthony Keon, the CEO of hospitality and racing at the Department of Enterprise, Investment and Trade, argues fines should be higher. He pointed out that the maximum penalty has never been applied since its introduction in 2018. Furthermore, Keon insists that repeat offenders should be charged more.
The topic was brought up because of a recent offense by PointsBet, an online gambling operator with an NSW license. The company posted an illegal advertisement and promptly received a $24,000 fine. Despite claims that this advert was the result of an HTML coding mistake, the operator agreed with the sanctions. However, this isn’t the first time PointsBet has broken the rules. The company also tried to get away with an incentivizing ad in 2019. Back then, it received a $14,000 fine.
Weak Fines Fail to Protect the Community
Tim Costello, chief advocate of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, believes that the NSW regulator is not doing enough to prevent operators from releasing such ads. He condemned the the small fines and emphasized that they are barely affect the big operators.
We don’t really have a serious set of sanctions and fines. Gambling inducements can ruin lives, the ripple effects are enormous. When fines are this weak, the state is failing to protect the community.Tim Costello, chief advocate, Alliance for Gambling Reform
Costello believes that it is best to take in mind how much a company makes before imposing a fine. He argued that multi-million dollar operators should get appropriate fines – sometimes as high as one million Australian dollars.
Although Keon agrees that fines should be higher, he rejected the notion that Liquor and Gaming NSW isn’t doing its job. He said that if courts don’t increase fines, the regulator may devise other penalties.
For the past seven years, Liquor and Gaming NSW has detected 37 instances of illegal advertisement. PointsBet is one of seven companies that have broken the rules more than once. In total, operators have had to pay $450,000 for being incompliant.