Liquor & Gaming NSW Hits Unibet With $48,000 Fine

Unibet Australia receives a $48,000 fine.

Liquor & Gaming New South Wales has hit Unibet with a $48,000 fine concerning illegal gambling advertisements. Betchoice Corporation Pty Ltd, trading as Unibet, has the right to appeal the sentence.

Darren Duke, NSW Liquor & Gaming’s compliance director, explained how Unibet breached the Betting and Racing Act 1998. Its rules state it is an offence to publish a gambling advertisement that offers any inducement to participate or frequently participate in any gambling activity.

“Special or enhanced odds have the ability to induce people to open a betting account when they otherwise may be refraining from gambling, and they may encourage people to gamble more frequently. In Downing Centre Local Court on 15 July, Unibet pleaded guilty to three offences and was fined $16,000 per offence, totalling $48,000, for breaching NSW gaming laws. They were also ordered to pay $3,900 in legal costs.”

“The offences relate to the publication on the Unibet website and Apple App Store on 26 November 2020, of the availability of Uniboost, Uplift and Reboost products, which are a form of special or enhanced odds. During sentencing, the Magistrate noted that Unibet had a record of previous convictions and had most recently been fined $25,000 in 2019 for breaches of the betting legislation. The advertisements were designed to entice people to engage with gambling products and are a breach of the legislation.”

Second Time Unibet Lands In Hot Water

$48,000 sounds like a lot of money, but it is pocket change for Unibet. The company paid a $25,000 fine two years ago after two adverts caught the regulators’ eyes.

“Deposit $20, Bet with $100” read one offending advert, which ran in The Canberra Times in November 2018. “Earn $50 CASH For Each Friend You Refer!” read an advertisement Unibet run on its Australia-facing website.

Punishments do not currently fit the crimes when it comes to illegal adverts. We are not privy to the financial records of any gambling company, but you can bet Unibet made more than $48,000 from the three breaches for which it received fines.

Gambling companies have no reason to adhere to the relatively strict yet outdated rules. They receive a slap on the wrist, a small fine, and get to go about their business as usual.

Unibet’s 2019 fine came before Liquor & Gaming NSW fined Ladbrokes and Neds a more substantial fee. It hit them with a $207,500 penalty, which made its shareholders sit up and take notice.

Racing NSW Investigation Continues

Illegal adverts are the least of Unibet’s problems because one of its key employees is still under investigation.

Racing NSW launched an investigation into former Tabcorp trading manager Sally Snow and her husband, Nathan, in 2019. The investigation branched out to include the Australian head of bookmaking for Unibet.

Phil Moyes has been with Unibet since 2012. Racing NSW seized his laptop and mobile phone as it probes the Snows and their relationship with high roller Steve Fletcher. Racing NSW believes the Snows manipulated prices at TAB outlets, allowing Fletcher to take advantage. Furthermore, Fletcher stands accused of betting with accounts not registered in his name. Stewards think Moyes did the same for Fletcher at Unibet.

Sally and Nathan Snow have kept their heads down since news of the investigation broke. Sally Snow refused to hand over her mobile phone despite orders to do so. She is asserting her common-law privilege against self-incrimination.

Racing NSW banned Sally Snow from every Australian racecourse and training facility. It barred her from having any interest in any thoroughbred racehorse and banned her from placing any bets on thoroughbred races.

“Mrs Snow refused to produce her mobile telephone for imaging, as directed, on the basis she wished to assert her common-law privilege against self-incrimination and also informed the Racing NSW Stewards that also intended to assert common law privilege against self-incrimination and not provide any information or evidence at any inquiry.”

Sally Snow resigned from her executive role at Tabcorp following the banning order.