ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATOR FINED $2.75 MILLION IN AUSTRALIA
Bet365 hammered by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission regarding false claims of free bets for players.
The Australian operation of UK online gambling giant Bet365 has been fined A$2.75 million following legal action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over false claims of free bets for new customers.
The publication Business Insider Australia reported Friday that the penalty was handed down after the Federal Court found in September last year that Bet365s “$200 free bets to new customers” in Australia between March 2013 to 13 January 2014 was misleading and deceptive and involved false representations because the fine print of the offer was not easily apparent.
To receive the free cash, new customers had to deposit A$200 of their own money and gamble it before receiving the A$200 free bet. They then had to gamble their money and the bonus three times before they could withdraw any winnings, meaning punters had to gamble at least A$1200 before getting any money back.
The hefty fine represents just under 10 percent of the companys Australian revenue of A$29 million to March 2014.
Rod Sims, the head of the ACCC said the fine was a warning to businesses to not promote “free” offers without prominently disclosing the conditions attached to them.
“The ‘free bets offer by Bet365 was aimed at enticing customers, particularly new customers who had not previously used such types of services and who were drawn into what the judge described as a ‘web of deception,” Sims said.
Justice Beach of the Federal Court concluded last year that Bet365 conduct involved a significant element of recklessness.
In responding to the judges decision, Bet365 issued a formal statement expressing regret and explaining that the offer was the result of an unintentional software error which has since been corrected.
“Bet365 has introduced stricter compliance processes and controls, as well as improved staff training to prevent a similar issue arising again,” the company advised.