Ladbrokes and Neds were convicted and ordered to pay a total of $207,500 for offering illegal gambling inducements to NSW residents.
Under current NSW law, wagering operators found guilty of promoting inducements to gamble, face fines of up to $110,000 per offence and company directors can be criminally prosecuted.
Following an investigation by Liquor & Gaming NSW, Ladbrokes, which owns Neds, was fined in Downing Centre Local Court for each of four Ladbrokes and two Neds advertisements that ran across Channel 7, Instagram and Facebook in 2018.
The advertisements offered bonus bets for a smaller deposit, such as a deal to “Deposit $50, get $250 in bonus bets.”
These bonus bets only applied to people who opened new betting accounts.
Liquor & Gaming NSW Assistant Director of Compliance, Dimitri Argeres, said the clear inducements to gamble and open a betting account were accessible to all users on social media.
“Inducements are known to increase the risk of gambling harm and these advertisements reached a broad segment of the population,” Mr Argeres said.
“In NSW such advertisements are restricted to registered betting account holders.
“This record fine should serve as a reminder that betting operators have an obligation to ensure their gambling advertising complies with NSW laws.
“Penalties of this magnitude are not easily absorbed into running costs.”
Under the NSW Betting and Racing Act, it is an offence to publish a gambling advertisement that includes any inducement to participate or participate frequently, in any gambling activity.