Australian media have reported that online sports betting firm Neds has been handed an A$18,000 fine in the Downing Centre Local Court after being convicted of five contraventions of gambling advertising laws.
The company was prosecuted by the New South Wales Liquor and Gaming regulator following complaints to the Advertising Standards Board that the advertisements offered NSW residents inducements to gamble or open betting accounts. The operator pleaded guilty to the charges, and the material has since been taken down.
Neds' illegal advertisements included offers of matching first deposits of up to A$505, and so-called “bet boosts” on websites including Neds.com.au, 9news.com.au and racenet.com.au, the regulator said.
Liquor & Gaming NSW deputy secretary Paul Newson claimed the material “intruded on the community and clearly breached NSW gambling advertising laws” designed to ameliorate the risk of gambling harm.
Newson warned that tougher new laws are now in place and that the level of fines for transgressions could substantially increase in the future.
“Under the new laws, maximum fines for offering unlawful inducements to gamble have been increased tenfold, and directors of wagering businesses can be held personally liable and be criminally convicted for gaming offences,” he said.
“It will no longer be good enough for directors to turn a blind eye and say they were unaware their company had committed offences.”
This is not the first time that Neds has been hauled over the coals for its provocative advertising; InfoPowa readers may recall a free-to-air television ad depicting tradesmen idle on a construction site while they placed bets on their phones instead of working. The commercial was pulled after dozens of complaints to the Advertising Standards Board.