Two prominent Australian gambling firms have been hit with record fines following an investigation by one of the country’s main regulators.
The New South Wales Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority has issued fines to Neds and Ladbrokes Australia worth $207,500 for offering gambling inducements to residents of the state.
The fine is the largest ever imposed in the state, but it follows the regulator’s recent spate of enforcement actions, which included fines for Riad Allam, a gambling machine technician and Justin Layden, who sells gambling machines, who were hit with a $100,000 penalty last month.
Ladbrokes, which is currently the owner of Neds, was found to have contravened the rules on advertising by airing four adverts in total, which ran on Facebook, Instagram and Channel 7. The ads, which ran in 2018, offered new customers a bonus bet bigger than their first deposit.
Speaking about the fines, the Assistant Director of Compliance for the regulator, Dimitri Argeres, said that such promotions posed a danger to those at risk of gambling harm:
“Inducements are known to increase the risk of gambling harm and these advertisements reached a broad segment of the population.”
According to the New South Wales Betting and Racing Act, it is an offence for any operator to release a gambling advertisement offering any form of inducement to bet or to bet frequently. The current regulatory framework enables the regulator to find operators who break the rules on inducements to gamble up to a total of £110,000 for each offence. The regulator also has the ability to prosecute company directors, although no such action has been taken in this case. Both Neds and Ladbrokes Australia have the right to appeal against the fines, but it is not yet clear whether they will do so.