Lisa Cheban | 13 June, 2023 11:38 | Last update on: 13 June, 2023 11:38
Australia has been acting tough on gambling malpractices of Australian online casinos lately, with Unibet becoming the latest victim. This is after the leading sports betting company was fined AU$ 60,000 (US$39,660) for numerous malpractices. Unibet is accused of offering illegal bonuses and promotions to players in New South Wales.
The fine was imposed by a Sydney court on May 22 after thorough investigations into the promotions provided by Unibet, according to Liquor & Gaming NSW. This body oversees all gaming, betting, liquor, and clubs in New South Wales.
The investigation’s findings indicate that each offer included several “inducements” such as increased odds and “price pushes” to entice gamers into gambling activities and open new accounts. The NSW Betting and Racing Act forbids operators from giving customers any incentives to gamble, including creating a new betting account.
The Kindred-owned BetChoice, branded as Unibet in Australia, pleaded guilty to the two counts, each attracting an AU$30,000 fine per section 33H(1) of the NSW Betting and Racing Act. The Sydney court also asked the operator to shoulder legal expenses incurred by the regulator.
After the ruling, NSW executive director of regulatory operations and enforcement at Liquor & Gaming, Jane Lin, remarked: “Betting operators have an obligation to ensure that all advertising complies with NSW laws on gambling advertising. Inducements are known to increase the risk of gambling harm, so any breaches are taken seriously.”
“The advertisements the subject of this case were designed to entice people to engage with gambling products using special or enhanced odds, which is a breach of the legislation,” the official added.
This is the second time Unibet has been found guilty of gambling offenses by the NSW regulator. In July 2021, the company was fined AU$ 48,000 after offering players enhanced odds on its website. BetChoice Corporation Pty pleaded guilty to three counts.
Illegal Offshore Gambling Could Cost Australia Billions
In other news, a report by Responsible Wagering Australia (RWA) has revealed that Australia may lose up to $3 billion (£1.60 billion) in taxes due to unlawful offshore gaming. This was disclosed in the Australia Offshore Wagering Market Analysis 2023, prepared by a gaming advisory firm, H2 Gambling Capital, on behalf of RWA.
H2 predicted that illegal offshore gambling could result in a $3.35 billion tax loss between 2022 and 2027. The report adds that this might result in a possible loss of $6.67 billion if combined with the projected $3.32 billion loss from the grey market.
According to RWA, users find offshore operators more alluring because they are more competitive and don’t impose strict consumer protection regulations, unlike licensed operators.
Kai Cantwell, CEO of RWA, commented: “It is crucial that any future reforms are balanced and prevent Australian players from being driven offshore, where player protections are limited. Additionally, failure to maintain a sustainably regulated sports betting market could result in a significant loss of economic benefits to the Australian economy, as well as to the sporting, racing and broadcasting industries.”