Unibet struck with fine after violating New South Wales gambling laws

By Iqbal Johal

The Australian arm of operator Unibet has been hit with an AU$25,000 (US$17,115) fine after violating gaming laws in New South Wales (NSW).

Betchoice, which trades as Unibet following the Malta-based operator’s acquisition in 2012, was found guilty of offering illegal gambling inducements, therefore breaking the NSW Betting and Racing Act.

The penalty, handed out in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court, follows government agency Liquor & Gaming NSW’s investigation into Unibet’s promotions.

One advert which appeared on the Unibet website in February, offered consumers the chance to "earn $50 cash for each friend you refer," while a separate ad on The Canberra Times website last November said "deposit $20, win $100."

But under the state’s Betting and Racing Act, it is deemed an offence to publish adverts which might lure participants into any form of gambling activity who aren’t required to log in to their respective account.

Recently implemented laws mean operators found guilty of promoting inducements to gamble now face fines of up to $110,000 per offence, with company directors potentially liable.

Liquor & Gaming NSW Director of Compliance Operations Sean Goodchild, said: "Betting operators have an obligation to ensure 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 news follows Unibet parent company Kindred Group dropping its appeal for a fine of €470,000 ($524,590), after illegally offering online gambling to Dutch customers.

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