Across Australia, there are strict advertising standards in place, which ensure that brands market their products responsibly. One of the most heavily regulated markets in gambling, as it is important to ensure that advertisements do not promote gambling in an irresponsible way or depict unrealistic expectations about the activity.
Usually, gaming operators are careful to abide by these rules, but UBet has recently been found to have been violating these terms. This week, UBet – as Tasmania-based online gambling operator – pleaded guilty to two separate advertising breaches, after it was found out that the company’s recent advertisements have promoted drinking while gambling.
The ad in question was showed on YouTube and it depicts the UBET Punters Academy, in which students are learning how to gamble head to head on NRL matches. This violates advertising standards as the NSW Betting and Racing Regulation Act 2012 prohibits licensed betting operators from publishing ads that promote the consumption of alcohol while gambling.
It is a ground-breaking case, as no other company has ever been prosecuted for promoting drinking while gambling. Our compliance staff continue to monitor advertising online and in other media as part of investigations into potential breaches of NSW’s Betting and Racing Regulation,” says Paul Irving, Acting Director of Compliance Operations for Liquor and Gaming NSW.
“As this case shows, companies that break the law can expect to face prosecution in court.” UBet was also fined for inducing NSW residents to gamble. This is due to a promotion that was published on UBet’s website, which offered players 1800 bonus points for joining the UBET rewards program.
These types of inducements are prohibited because they encourage punters to wager when they might normally be resistant to the activity. As such, UBet has been fined $3300 and has been ordered to pay professional costs for Liquor and Gaming NSW. This ruling serves as a warning to other gambling operators across the country.
It is important for gambling companies to promote responsible gambling behaviour, and showing people who are drinking while gambling in advertisements is quite irresponsible behaviour. Responsible gambling advocates discourage gambling while drinking because it impairs the player’s judgement and may cause them to spend more money than they intended or to gamble more aggressively.
It is hoped that other gaming operators will take heed of this warning and ensure that they do not promote irresponsible gambling behaviour in their marketing materials.