Online betting operator SportChamps has been fined $17,500 for inducing people to gamble and open a betting account, following five previous convictions for similar offences.
SportChamps pleaded guilty in Downing Centre Local Court to two offences under the Betting and Racing Act following a Liquor & Gaming NSW investigation into advertisements on its website and Facebook pages that stated “Punt for free. Learn the game!” and “Receive a free bet each day”.
In NSW, it is an offence to publish or offer inducements to open a betting account. Liquor & Gaming NSW Executive Director Regulatory Operations, Jane Lin, said it was unacceptable that SportChamps continued to offend.
“SportChamps has five previous convictions for gambling advertising offences from 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021,” Ms Lin said. “It’s extremely concerning that this operator has amassed multiple convictions for breaching laws which are in place to protect people from gambling harm.”
For these latest offences, the company tried to attract a new customer base and increase its market share with no regard for the state’s gambling laws.
Once an account was created, access was provided to the SportChamps Tournament Betting Lobby webpage, which included access to free and paid gaming tournaments.
A deposit icon took users to a page where they were asked to insert credit card details and the deposit amount, or they could make direct EFT deposits to SportChamps.
“Wagering operators can legally advertise their products in a variety of ways, but they can’t advertise or promote inducements such as offers of increased odds or bonus bets to entice people to open a betting account,” Ms Lin said. “Offences like these have the potential to undermine the entire regulatory framework, which is why we take a zero-tolerance approach to this type of advertising.NSW bans the advertisement of any offer of an inducement to participate in a gambling activity, including an inducement to bet more frequently.
It is also prohibited to offer any inducements to open betting accounts, refer friends to open betting accounts, keep a betting account open or consent to receive gambling advertising. A maximum penalty off $110,000 applies to any corporation and $11,000 for individuals who publish prohibited gambling advertising.