AUSTRAC bet365 sportsbet investigation

BlueBet billboards land operator in trouble with Victorian regulator

BlueBet has been charged by the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) with violating the Australian state’s betting advertising laws. SBC News BlueBet billboards land operator in trouble with Victorian regulator

The operator, headquartered in Sydney in the neighbouring state of New South Wales (NSW), allegedly breached Victoria betting regulations by placing billboard advertisements along motorways.

Victoria’s gambling regulator has charged the firm with 43 violations of state law for the billboards, which were placed along the Princes Freeway and Western Freeway between 29 August 2022 and 11 September 2022.

VGCCC Regulatory Services Director Jason Cremona said: “All wagering service providers advertising in Victoria must comply with relevant legislation. Where we detect non-compliance – especially non-compliance that can exacerbate gambling harm – we will take a zero-tolerance approach and use all the enforcement powers available to us.  

“We launched our investigation after receiving an online complaint about the billboard advertisements from a member of the public. We encourage all members of the community to use our complaints and tip-off portals to let us know when they believe they have witnessed non-compliant behaviour by gambling providers. The community can rest assured we will act wherever we can.”

The charges have now been taken before a Victorian court, but the VGCCC states that it will not make any further comment on the matter at this time.

What is clear is the extent of the financial penalty BlueBet could face as a result of the ad breaches, with the 43 offences attracting a fine of 120 penalty units. As a ‘penalty unit’ amounts to AUS$183.92, the operator could be subject to a maximum fine of $954,187.20.

BlueBet, like other Australian firms, maintains interests both in its domestic market as well as in the US. During H1 of the 2022/23 financial year the company’s revenue remained broadly stable, falling slightly from $36.4m to $36.2m, which BlueBet management attributed to an investment-heavy first half.

The VGCCC’s investigation into the firm comes in the context of wider scrutiny and overhaul of the state’s gambling regulations, however, with the regulator having recently introduced a ban on bookmakers offering betting markets on under-19 sporting events.

Meanwhile, Australia’s most stringent player protection and responsible gambling measures are also being rolled out across retail venues throughout the state, having first been trialled at the flagship Crown Melbourne casino.

In BlueBet’s home state of NSW, reform is also underway as a government appointed independent panel prepares a roadmap for changes to the state’s regulatory framework on betting and gaming.

The NSW regulator, Liquor and Gaming NSW (L&GNSW), has also been active in enforcing gambling laws, most recently finding Bet Right AUS$20,000 for offering boosted odds.

Lastly, on the national level, just this week Australia launched its country-wide self-exclusion scheme, BetStop, after a year in development, operated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

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