Australia – Rob Waterhouse convicted of illegal gambling advertisingBy Phil - 9 December 2021
Prominent Australian bookmaker Rob Waterhouse has been convicted of illegal gambling advertising and fined $4,500 in Downing Centre Local Court in New South Wales.
In 2020 Liquor & Gaming NSW responded to reports Rob Waterhouse was offering a ‘five daily boosts promotion’ advertised on his website RobWaterhouse.com and Twitter.
Mr Waterhouse, an established on-course bookmaker and new addition to the online betting world, was charged with offences under the Betting and Racing Act 1998 relating to publishing prohibited gambling-related advertisements.
The maximum penalty for an individual charged with the offence of publishing a gambling advertisement containing a prohibited inducement is $11,000.
Mr Waterhouse pleaded guilty and was fined in relation to the website publication of a gambling advertisement containing a prohibited inducement, as it was promoting the opportunity to obtain increased or higher odds up to five times a day. Mr Waterhouse was also dealt with in relation to promoting the same advertisement on Twitter.
Liquor & Gaming NSW Executive Director Investigations and Enforcement, Valerie Griswold, said the promotions were a breach of the law because they constituted inducements to gamble and were available to be viewed by members of the public who were not betting account holders.
“The prospect of collecting more punters should not be an incentive to break the law. The law is there to help people keep their gambling under control,” Ms Griswold said.
“Anyone struggling with their gambling habits is going to have a hard time resisting ads that offer multiple Bet Boosts.”
More and more operators are moving into the online space with 18 out of 29 on-course bookmakers now licensed in NSW to conduct telephone and electronic betting.
Rob Waterhouse joined other on-course bookmakers who went online in 2020 after COVID kept punters off the tracks.
“There’s a lot of competition for business at the moment, particularly in the online market which has doubled in size as other traditional forms of gambling have contracted,” Ms Griswold said.
“This is going to create an environment where betting service providers are vying for people’s business, so it’s important that advertisements don’t inadvertently encourage gambling harms in the process.”
Mr Waterhouse has the option to appeal against the sentence.