Sportschamps faces New South Wales fine for illegal bonus ad

8 April 2019

Australia's Sportschamps has become the latest wagering operator to fall foul of New South Wales' state laws on gambling advertising, over a deposit bonus promotion published on its site last year.

The operator has been penalised in relation to an ad that appeared on Sportschamps.com.au on July 5, 2018, offering players a deposit bonus - even though no player signed up for the offer.

The ad in question stated: “Matched first time deposit bonus up to $50 – Deposit for the first time and we’ll match your deposit with Bonus Cash, up to $50. Keep the winnings from Bonus Cas (sic)”.

The site also stated that consumers could sign up for free.

As set out under the NSW Betting and Racing Act, state laws make it an offence to publish “a gambling advertisement that offers any inducement to participate, or participate frequently, in any gambling activity (including an inducement to open a betting account)”.

Although Chief Magistrate Graeme Henson took into account that nobody signed up to the offer when the advert was running, he ruled at a hearing on April 3 at Downing Centre Local Court that Sportschamps breached state law and issued a fine.

The Liquor & Gaming NSW local authority issued Sportschamps with a fine of AUD$2,500 (£1,359/€1,580/US$1,774) and ordered the operator to pay $3,250 in legal costs.

:“Advertising gambling inducements is unlawful in NSW, and operators who flout or try to get around these restrictions are acting against industry and community interests and increasing risks of gambling harms,” Liquor & Gaming NSW director of compliance operations Sean Goodchild said.

Last month, Australian online operator Sportsbet was also fined Aus$10,000 for posting an illegal gambling advertisement on its website.

The Sportsbet ad featured cartoon images of two males with their thumbs up, accompanied by the text, “Refer a Friend – Get a $100 Bonus Bet for every friend you refer to join sportsbet.com.au (excl. VIC, NSW, WA & SA) Terms and Conditions”.