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ACMA issues formal warning to Tabcorp over online in-play betting

19th November 2021 6:06 am GMT

Sydney-listed gaming operator Tabcorp Holdings has been issued a formal warning by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) after it was found to have accepted a number of illegal online in-play bets on a US college basketball game.

After receiving a complaint, the ACMA’s investigation found that Tabcorp accepted 37 illegal bets on 3 January 2021.

This is the first time the ACMA has taken action against an operator for a breach of online in-play betting rules, which is prohibited in Australia under the country's Interactive Gambling Act 2001.

"We know that in-play betting, such as bets on the next point in a tennis match or the next ball in cricket, can pose a very high risk to problem gamblers,” said Authority member Fiona Cameron. "These rules have been in place for many years and Tabcorp has had more than enough time to put systems in place to ensure that in-play betting is not offered on local or international sports."

In its response, Tabcorp said that it failed to close betting in time due to incorrect match information from a third-party provider, followed by a technical error by Tabcorp. Upon realising the mistake, Tabcorp paid out winning bets and refunded losing bets, with one being refunded only after the ACMA commenced its investigation.

Cameron said in settling its enforcement approach, the ACMA considered Tabcorp’s actions to deal with the illegal bets and its commitment to improve its systems and processes. 

Alternative enforcement options include potential penalties under an infringement notice and application by the ACMA to the Federal Court for the imposition of a civil penalty or injunction.

“The ACMA considered that the paying out of winning bets by Tabcorp was inappropriate and that all illegal bets should have been voided so that neither operators or punters benefit from prohibited activity," continued Cameron. “The industry is now on notice that it must have robust systems in place to prevent in-play bets and that the ACMA will investigate evidence of non-compliance with these important consumer safeguards.

“If we find breaches of the rules caused by genuine mistakes, in any enforcement response we will take into account whether an operator has voided rather than paid out illegal winning bets.”

BRAGG Gaming
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