The news headline were alight with Ladbrokes‘ latest fine for breaching the NSW regulatory guidelines. The Australian arm of the UK online gambling giant received a hefty fine Thursday for, once again, providing punters with inducements to bet.
Ladbrokes was forced to pay an AU$35k fine, plus another AU$50k in legal fees, for promoting an “Odds Boost” and “Odds Boost Extra” incentive that gave favor to punters who made one racing bet per day, of their choice.
The company advertised the promotion on its website and YouTube channel, and was even bold enough to print it in the Sunday Morning Herald. The fine was much higher than last time, when Ladbrokes paid $7.5k + $18k back in 2015 for a similar violation.
Australians take Online Gambling Offshore
The state of the regulatory system brings to question why so many Aussies are taking their online gambling to offshore websites. Not only are the promotions better, they have access to a much wider range of betting opportunities.
In Australia, regulated websites are forced to abide by strict guidelines that prohibit them from inducing bettors to sign up or place a wager. While that’s good for promoting responsibility among today’s punters, it does little for players who want a little something extra for their loyalty.
International online gambling sites are under no such obligation. They can offer Australians deposit bonuses, reload bonuses, free bets and all the boosted odds they want.
Punters aren’t limited to race and sports betting either. Australia refuses to regulate online casinos or poker sites, therefore there are no licenced operators within the country for Aussies to turn to.
Offshore sites like Royal Vegas proudly accept players from Australia and many other countries. They provide convenient deposit methods and a slew of promotional offerings. And it’s not like they aren’t safe for bettors. These sites may not be regulated in Australia, but many of them do carry regulatory licences that require strict compliance from other, equally responsible jurisdictions.
Why should I log into Ladbrokes or William Hill, where there’s no pokies or blackjack tables, and no incentive to sign-up or remain a loyal member? I could just as easily register with a reputable international site that offers those same bets, plus casino games, poker and more, with regular promotions and VIP programs to boost my bankroll. It’s a no-brainer.
Australia Threatens Online Gambling Freedom
The government has obviously asked these same questions, and its answer is to put an end to unregulated online gambling sites altogether. For years now, international operators have been deemed “illegal”, but the country has no way to enforce those laws; government body to waggle a finger at them and no penalties to threaten them with. Operators keep on supplying games, and Aussies keep on playing them.
That could change very soon with the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill. If/When passed, it will formally prohibit international operators from accessing Australia without a licence, imposing hefty penalties for those who violate the laws. And because online casino and poker are already illegal, licenced operators won’t be able to offer those games.
At that point, only black-market operators will continue to accept Aussies, and it could pose a very dangerous situation. If the government truly wants to protect its people, they need to legalize, regulate and licence online casinos. It may take away our right to promotions, but at least it won’t take away the security we now enjoy with distinguished international online gambling sites like Royal Vegas.