Betr, a News Corp-owned Australian Online Sportsbooks, was fined AU$20,655 (€13,034) for luring a self-excluded gambler to put bets during the Melbourne Cup. The Northern Territory Racing Commission fined the Australian online wagering operator in October for breaking gaming regulations by contacting and texting the gambler.
The gambler had previously requested that such advertising actions be avoided. The gambler, Mr. M., had willingly signed up for the Northern Territory's self-exclusion register. The Northern Territory registration allows all Australians to actively exclude themselves from Northern Territory-based betting sites for a short or long length of time. Betr is situated in the Northern Territory, and therefore it is prohibited from contacting anyone in Australia who has willingly signed the self-exclusion register.
Evidence Supporting the Decision
By presenting incriminating evidence, the Northern Territory Racing Commission backed its decision to penalize Betr. The Commission noted that Betr obtained a copy of the self-excluding registry on October 5, 2022. The information about Mr. M was entered into the register.
The online gaming firm, which had only just launched the Sportsbook, maintained in its defense that the staff in charge of contacting Mr. M were unaware his information was in the register. Its employees were utilizing a database that was being updated with Commission data.
However, the Commission denied the appeal due to inexperience. Despite being a newly launched company, Betr was claimed to have experienced management because it was comprised of professionals who had worked in similar positions for many years. For example, its CEO, Andrew Menz, formerly served as CEO of BetEasy. Several senior executives at the company have extensive gambling industry experience as well as knowledge of Northern Territory law
The Commission was disappointed that Betr's leaders, affiliates, and employees were allowed to contact people before the self-exclusion database updates were completed. Betr was fined in connection with the bookmarker's October offer. The online betting platform offered 100-one odds on wagers up to $10. It targeted local clientele for Melbourne Cup betting.
Other Related Cases
The case duplicates other recent cases' offers, events, and fines. In 2022, the New South Wales (NSW) targeted Robbie Waterhouse for prosecution amid allegations of luring gamblers back into the game after self-exclusion. The Australian bookmarker was charged with violating the Betting and Racing Act 1998 by presenting an incentive to gamble after instructing the firm to close their accounts.
The online betting site was penalized in 2021 for breaking gambling advertising rules. On its website, the company advertised the option of improving the odds. On its website, the corporation maintained a page dedicated to responsible gambling. Consumers could also choose to opt out of its services for a limited time or permanently. It did not, however, keep its promises, which resulted in 11 charges and a punishment of AU$121,000 (US$77,944).
Advocacy for Changes within the Gambling Industry
The Commission believed the fine was fair and deserved, given that Betr had contacted problem gamblers who wanted to take a voluntary break from betting to improve their health.
However, some anti-gambling advocates believed Betr was not solely to blame for the blunder because the national self-exclusion register had yet to be launched three years after the legislation was passed.
The federal government established the register in 2019 and delegated implementation to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). It was a component of the National Consumer Protection Framework for Online Gambling. However, its implementation has largely gone unnoticed.
Carol Bennet, CEO of the Alliance for Gambling Reform, believes that the national self-exclusion register is critical in the gambling industry. It aims to keep problem gamblers safe from the industry's targeting practices and false advertising that incentivizes them to continue gambling.
Like other anti-gambling advocates, Carol Bennet believes the national self-exclusion register is an important step toward protecting the welfare of gamblers. They also believe that the federal government should develop and implement stronger measures to mitigate the extent of harm caused by the gambling industry.
The Northern Territory Racing Commission fined Betr, a relatively new Australian bookmarker, for violating self-exclusion registry restrictions. Betr's participation in the case is related to their disrespect for the self-exclusion register. The number of Australian Online Casinos and Sportsbooks is growing, resulting in an increase in gambling-related activities and businesses. Anti-gambling campaigners believe this is the proper step, and that the federal government should be more proactive in implementing the national registry and other steps to safeguard the welfare of problem gamblers.