PointBet goes to court on illegal advertising charges
Representatives of Australian online gambling operator PointBet recently appeared before a magistrate in the New South Wales District Court to face charges of illegally promoting deposit bonuses. They’re just the latest operator to face the wrath of the law in New South Wales as regulators crack down on practices, such as deposit bonuses, that have long been part of the online gambling marketplace in Australia and the rest of the world.
PointBet’s string of bad legal luck came after someone in the public lodged a complaint about a PointBet promotion that appeared on the Apple App Store. The ad in question offered up the following deal, “ALL 40+ METRO RACES RUN 2ND UP TO $100 BACK.” Though it may seem innocuous to the layman, this sort of offer is strictly forbidden in New South Wales where it’s believed that deposit bonuses entice innocent citizens into gambling. (Which is true as much as beer ads entice people into driving drunk.)
More specifically, the law says, “a gambling advertisement that offers any inducement to participate, or participate frequently, in any gambling activity (including an inducement to open a betting account).”
That was enough to draw PointBet officials into the courtroom where they plead guilty to the charges and paid out a fine of $20,000 ($14,300 USD). Should they have been found guilty in a trial, company officials could have faced more than double that amount in fines and a potential jail sentence.
New South Wales Liquor and Gaming Board (NSWLGB) Sean Goodchild, defended the legal action against PointBet saying, “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, which is reflected in the fine.”
PointBet is just one of several operators that have been targeted by the NSWLGB for this sort of violation recently and, it seems, they won’t be the last.