Thursday August 14,2014 : BET365 SUED BY AUSSIE CONSUMER BODY
Claims that online gambling firms failed to properly disclose bonus conditions.
In what seems to be a rather heavy-handed reaction to the Australian subsidiaries of UK betting group Bet365, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched litigation in the Federal Court, alleging that the betting companies misled punters by offering free bets and deposit bonuses that were subject to a number of conditions not properly disclosed.
According to ABC News, the court filings claim that online punters had to gamble a substantial amount of money to redeem the offers, and additionally had to bet on high-risk odds, but the conditions attached to the offers were not adequately disclosed by Bet365's Aussie firms.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims told ABC News that consumer issues in online trading are an enforcement priority for the organisation.
"The online betting industry is a growing business sector," he said. "The Australian Consumer Law applies to this sector in the same way that it applies to other industries and sectors.
"The Consumer Law also requires that any conditions, limitations or restrictions should be made clear to the consumer before the purchase rather than after a consumer has been unfairly enticed into a transaction."
Sims acknowledges that Bet365 immediately took steps to amend its offers on being approached regarding the issue, which makes the Commission's decision to go to court anyway instead of being content with effecting a reversal and handing out a public reprimand to an otherwise professional and integrity-driven company, all the more surprising.
The case will be heard in October, with the Commission seeking corrective advertising, injunctive relief, punitive fines and its legal costs.
The ACCC has also launched litigation against the kitchen blender company OmniBlend for the far more serious offence of price-fixing in collaboration with a competitor.