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​Unibet and Bet365 convicted of illegal advertising

Tuesday 19 January 2016               [PDF,143kb]

Two more sports betting companies, Unibet and Bet365, have been prosecuted by the Office of Liquor, Gaming & Racing (OLGR) as part of a continuing crackdown on illegal sports betting advertising in NSW.

The licensed wagering operators were today convicted in Downing Centre Local Court after Unibet pleaded guilty to three advertising breaches and Bet365 pleaded guilty to two advertising breaches.

NSW’s Betting and Racing Regulation 2012 prohibits licensed wagering operators from publishing advertising that offers NSW residents any inducement to participate in any gambling activity, including to open a betting account.

Northern Territory licensed Betchoice Corporation Pty Ltd, trading as Unibet, based at Baulkham Hills, entered pleas of guilty on 12 January to publishing gambling advertising on its website offering a credit and reward as an inducement on 31 August 2015.

A Unibet advertisement for "First Greyhound Bet Refunds!" offered "Bonus Money" with a refund of a stake of up to $50 on a first ever greyhound racing bet.

The website also promoted "Deposit Bonus", "Reward Bonus" and "Loyalty bonuses" in relation to placing bets via the website and a mobile phone app.

Another Unibet advertisement promoted "Insured Bet" "First Mobile Bet Refunds" offering a cash refund of up to $50 on a loss on a first ever mobile bet over $10 via a mobile app.

Magistrate Susan McIntyre said the legislation was clear and Unibet’s breaches were flagrant and it was hard to believe a corporation of its size was unaware of requirements.

Unibet was convicted and fined $7,500 ($2,500 for each offence) and ordered to pay OLGR’s professional costs of $5,000.

North Sydney based wagering operator Hillside (Australia New Media) Pty Limited, trading as Bet365, and also licensed in the Northern Territory, pleaded guilty to two advertising breaches in court today.

On 16 and 25 September Bet365, which claims to be the world’s largest online gambling company, published a website advertisement that offered an "Open Account Offer" of a "100% matched amount as a bonus to bet with" of up to $200 for all new clients who opened an account and deposited $20 or more, with conditions.

On 6 October 2015, Bet365 published a website promotion offering an "On the Move Bonus" by way of a "100% bonus when you place a qualifying bet on your mobile or tablet" of $2 or more to a maximum bonus of $100, with conditions.

While the Bet365 advertisements stated the offers were not available to NSW residents, when OLGR inspectors tested those apparent restrictions they found that NSW residents were still able to participate.

Magistrate McIntyre said a strong message was needed and she fined Bet365 $5,000 ($2,500 for each offence) and ordered it to pay costs of $5,000.

The convictions of Unibet and Bet365 follow three previous OLGR prosecutions of sports betting companies Ladbrokes, Sportsbetting.com.au Pty Limited and ClassicBet Pty Ltd. Court action is still pending for a number of other licensed wagering operators.

OLGR Acting Director of Compliance & Enforcement Sean Goodchild said licensed wagering operators should ensure that they do not publish gambling advertising that offers an inducement for NSW residents to participate in gambling activities.

An industry fact sheet on the publication of gambling advertising in NSW is available here.

Suspect gambling advertising can be reported to OLGR for investigation on 02 9995 0837 or email complaints@olgr.nsw.gov.au