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SportChamps faces fine for repeated gambling advertising violations in Australia

Repeat gambling ad offender SportChamps fined AU$17,500 in NSW for offering "free bets" to entice account creation.

SportChamps fined
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Operator SportChamps based in Sydney has been fined AU$17,500 (US$11,481) for breaching gambling advertising laws, marking the sixth conviction for similar offences. 

The fine comes after a Liquor & Gaming NSW investigation found SportChamps guilty of inducing people to gamble and open betting accounts through its website and Facebook pages.

SportChamps pleaded guilty in Downing Centre Local Court to two offences under the Betting and Racing Act. The ads in question featured statements like "Punt for free. Learn the game!" and "Receive a free bet each day," inducing individuals to open betting accounts – a violation of New South Wales (NSW) law.

Jane Lin, Executive Director of Regulatory Operations at Liquor & Gaming NSW, said: “SportChamps has five previous convictions for gambling advertising offences from 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021. It’s extremely concerning that this operator has amassed multiple convictions for breaching laws which are in place to protect people from gambling harm.”

The company's strategy to attract new customers and increase market share disregarded the state's gambling laws. Once an account was created, users were directed to the SportChamps Tournament Betting Lobby webpage, where free and paid gaming tournaments were accessible.

The process included soliciting credit card details and deposit amounts, potentially escalating individuals' engagement in gambling activities.

Lin added: “Wagering operators can legally advertise their products in a variety of ways, but they can’t advertise or promote inducements such as offers of increased odds or bonus bets to entice people to open a betting account.” 

In related news, Liquor and Gaming NSW conducted a compliance blitz on pubs and clubs in NSW, resulting in nearly 99% of inspected venues being free of external gambling-related signage.

The crackdown aligns with the NSW Government's broader reform on gaming room advertising. Venues found non-compliant may face penalties of up to AU$11,000 per offence. 

These initiatives are part of a comprehensive approach by the NSW Government, including reducing cash input limits for electronic gaming machines, capping gaming machine entitlements, introducing responsible gaming officers and overseeing a cashless gaming trial through an independent panel of experts.

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