THEY say a leopard never changes its spots, and apparently the same adage applies to the bookies and advertising in Australia.
Ladbrokes became the latest company to cop a fine under the NSW Liquor and Gaming Regulations around gambling advertising and inducing members of the public to gamble.
The ads in question were promotions for the company’s odds boost and odds boost extra features, which punters can use to increase the dividends on fixed odds markets across racing and sport.
The advertisements were featured on YouTube, the Ladbrokes website and in the Sydney Morning Herald, which cost the company $35000 as well as a further $50000 in legal fees.
The fine can be viewed as a statement from the regulatory board which had previously not issued a penalty over five figures.
Liquor & Gaming NSW deputy secretary Paul Newsonsaid it “concerning that these sophisticated businesses continue to act irresponsibly.”
Newson stated that “persistent breaches” warrant “an escalated response”.
Good to see Ladbrokes fined $35,000 for advertising inducements! Court just forgot to make it $1,035,000. Smart to ban all betting on tv!!
— Raymond Pearson (@stingers90) April 6, 2017
Ladbrokes had previously been fined $7500 for a similar breach back in 2015.
Newson said the regulating body “will consider extending criminal liability” to company directors or senior officials to ensure the “proper regard for responsible gambling obligations” are adhered to.
In more positive news for the company, Ladbrokes recently signed a one-year sponsorship deal with NRL the Newcastle Knights to be their back of jersey sponsor, as well on the goal post and corner post pads at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Ladbrokes also extended its deal with the Gold Coast Titans through until the 2019 season.
Our take – slap on the wrist not enough if regulation bodies want to get serious
Let’s get this straight – Ladbrokes get caught advertising in NSW, illegally, and the penalty is a combined $40000 for two transgressions?
What is the disincentive here?
Ladbrokes generated US$1.8 billion in net sales and revenue in 2015, meaning any fine in the realm of A$35000 is a relative drop in the ocean.
To us, there are far bigger issues in the world other than gambling advertising, but if the government wants to get serious it needs to make the penalty for breaking their rules far more substantial.
The regulation body mooted the potential for “criminal liability” charges in the future, but until that precedent is set we are fairly certain online bookmakers will continue to flaunt the rules surrounding gambling advertising.
Given the penalties – can you really blame them?