It’s been clear for some time that Australian lawmakers and regulators are coming down hard on the online gambling industry and the case of Neds, an online bookmaker, really drives that point home.
Earlier this week, the operators of Neds.au plead guilty to five counts of offering New South Wales residents inducements to gamble or open betting accounts. The court accepted their plea and threw down a sentence that included an $18,000 fine.
The ads in question ran afoul Australia’s beefed up laws regulating everything from when gambling operators can advertise their services to how they can promote bonus offers. In this case, Neds ran afoul of the law by offering bonuses of $505 along with “bet boosts” to add value to specific wagers.
All of the ads that got Neds into trouble ran during the period of October-December 2017. As our colleagues at CalvinAyre.com point out, Neds has only been in business since September of 2017.
What’s particularly noteworthy about this case is that the charges were laid against specific members of the Neds executive team. This sort of personal accountability is a hallmark of Australia’s beefed up laws governing gambling operators and it’s exactly the message that Liquor & Gaming NSW deputy secretary Paul Newson wants to send to the gaming business.
In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, Newson explained the rationale behind the prosecution saying:
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. It will no longer be good enough for directors to turn a blind eye and say they were unaware their company had committed offences.
In short, Australian gaming regulators are very serious about enforcing their new laws and operators who run afoul of them may find themselves in very hot water.