SBC News ACMA issues Entain max penalty for illegal online bets on LIV tournament

ACMA issues Entain max penalty for illegal online bets on LIV tournament

Entain has been asked to pay an infringement notice of AU$13,320 by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) after offering online in-play betting to customers.

Through its two Australian sportsbook brands, Ladbrokes and Neds, the operator offered bets on an LIV golf tournament held in Bangkok in October 2022, accepting a total of 78 in-play bets online, which were all voided.

The country’s gaming laws state that in-play bets must only be placed by calling and speaking to an operator and are not allowed to be offered in a purely online format.

ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin, explained that online in-play betting laws are in place to protect vulnerable people, adding: “Online in-play betting increases the risk for those people experiencing gambling harm as it provides fast outcomes and allows for higher frequency of bets.”

The penalty is the maximum amount that the ACMA is able to issue for this particular breach of the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 and is also the first time it has ever been required to do so.

O’Loughlin continued: “Entain is a highly experienced wagering operator and it is disappointing it did not have internal procedures in place to prevent or detect the error.

“The ACMA made it clear to the industry last year that they must have robust systems in place to ensure that online in-play bets are not made available or accepted.”

The sportsbook claimed that the breaches occurred due to its parent company inputting the incorrect start time for the event to its systems and, as a result, 59 bets were accepted via the Ladbrokes service and 19 via the Neds service after the event had begun.

Entain has reported that it only became aware of the error when a customer alerted the group around three hours after the day’s play had started. The company has now relayed to the authorities that it has ‘reviewed and updated its in-play compliance policy to ensure such errors do not occur again’.

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