SportChamps, a Sydney-based sports operator, has been hit with a substantial fine of AU$17,500 (US$11,481) for violating gambling advertising laws. This marks their sixth conviction for similar offenses. Following an investigation by Liquor & Gaming NSW, SportChamps was found guilty of enticing individuals to gamble and open betting accounts through their website and Facebook pages.
SportChamps pleaded guilty to two offenses under the Betting and Racing Act in Downing Centre Local Court. The advertisements in question included statements like “Punt for free. Learn the game!” and “Receive a free bet each day,” which encouraged people to open betting accounts, ultimately going against New South Wales (NSW) law.
Jane Lin, Executive Director of Regulatory Operations at Liquor & Gaming NSW, expressed concern over SportChamps’ repeated violations of gambling advertising laws and stated that these laws are in place to protect individuals from the harmful effects of gambling.
SportChamps’ strategy to attract new customers and expand their market share disregarded the state’s gambling laws. Once users created an account, they were directed to the SportChamps Tournament Betting Lobby webpage, where they could participate in both free and paid gaming tournaments. This process involved soliciting credit card information and deposit amounts, potentially increasing individuals’ involvement in gambling activities.
Lin emphasized that while wagering operators can advertise their products legally, they cannot promote inducements such as increased odds or bonus bets to entice people to open betting accounts.
In related news, Liquor and Gaming NSW conducted a compliance blitz on pubs and clubs in NSW, resulting in nearly 99% of inspected venues being free of external gambling-related signage. This crackdown aligns with the NSW Government’s broader reform on gaming room advertising. Venues found to be non-compliant could face penalties of up to AU$11,000 per offense.
These initiatives are part of a comprehensive approach by the NSW Government, which includes measures such as reducing cash input limits for electronic gaming machines, capping gaming machine entitlements, appointing responsible gaming officers, and overseeing a cashless gaming trial through an independent panel of experts.