The Australian sportsbook Betr, that is supported by the News Corp, has been fined AU$210,000, which is approximately $142.000, by the Liquor & Gaming New South Wales regulator for violating advertising regulations last year.
Namely, Betr was fined for providing odds of up to 100-1 on any wager of up to AU$10 on horse racing in the 2022 Melbourne Cup on associated newspapers, radio and television stations when it officially started last year. In addition, this allowed Betr to collect thousands of new clients and advertise the company.
However, the regulator’s investigation officially decided that with this act, Betr violated regulations by motivating people to open a wagering account and gamble more often.
Moreover, similar incentives have been offered for the Cox Plate and AFL and NRL markets in an attempt to lure clients away from established gambling firms.
Commenting on the fine, a spokesperson for Betr said: “We are very conscious of our regulatory obligations and would like to work constructively with the NSW Government to remove the inconsistency between the regulator’s current view and the guidance issued to industry.”
Biggest fine ever:
As Betr received 14 separate infringement notices, they together represent the largest fine imposed on a gambling firm for inducements in New South Wales. Furthermore, the 14 notices follow a significantly lower fine from the Northern Territory regulator for advertising violations in February.
Commenting on the fine, the regulator’s executive director, Jane Lin, said: “The $210,000 fine was appropriate given significant breaches of the law by Betr.”
Lin added: “This company tried to attract a new customer base and establish a significant market share with promotions that we consider crossed the line, using inducements that had the potential to cause harm to the community.
“In many cases, such promotions can only be legally offered to betting account holders who, unlike the general public, have made a conscious decision to open an account and receive this information.”
Moreover, it is common knowledge that anti-gambling advocates have formerly complained that financial penalties are too small to have the desired effect.
Disbelief that a breach has been made:
The inducement campaign ended when the regulator approached Betr with concerns last year. The regulator offered the company to pay the fine without contesting it, which, if the company agrees, can avoid a potentially lengthy court process.
In this regard, the spokesperson of Betr said: “The company did not believe it had breached regulations and called on the state regulator to clarify guidance given to the sector.
“We offered and advertised the $100-1 Melbourne Cup market in accordance with the law and entirely consistent with the guidance published by Liquor and Gaming NSW which clearly indicated this conduct was legal.
“Whilst we cooperated fully with Liquor and Gaming, we do not accept, and have made no admissions to breaching NSW law. Our decision not to challenge the penalty notices was made to resolve the matter amicably.”
Moreover, earlier this year, Tabcorp CEO, Adam Rytenskild, accused Betr of “launching highly distortionary promotional offers to improve its market share shortly after launching.”
That has put Tabcorp in direct competition with Betr as it aims to extend its online gambling products.
However, News Corp, which invested $49m in the startup together with former BetEasy CEO Matthew Tripp and US-based Tekkorp, pulled out of the gambling company in recent months. Furthermore, two CEOs, Peter Blunden and Mark Reinke, have recently left Betr’s board.
Its international accounts unveiled affiliate losses of nearly $33 million in the last six months of 2022, with some of those losses linked to Betr. A third of the company’s stake in Betr is expected to be reduced.