Online bookmaker SportChamps has been fined for a sixth time for providing inducements to open a betting account after an investigation by Liquor & Gaming NSW.

SportChamps fronted the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney and pleaded guilty to two offences under the Betting and Racing Act over advertisements on its website and Facebook pages that stated ‘Punt for free. Learn the game!’ and ‘Receive a free bet each day’.  

Under NSW law, it is an offence to publish or offer inducements to open a betting account.

SportChamps, which has five previous convictions for gambling advertising offences since 2017, was fined $17,500 for its latest infraction.

“It’s extremely concerning that this operator has amassed multiple convictions for breaching laws which are in place to protect people from gambling harm,” Liquor & Gaming NSW Executive Director Regulatory Operations, Jane Lin, said.

“Wagering operators can legally advertise their products in a variety of ways, but they can’t advertise or promote inducements such as offers of increased odds or bonus bets to entice people to open a betting account.

“Offences like these have the potential to undermine the entire regulatory framework, which is why we take a zero-tolerance approach to this type of advertising.

“NSW bans the advertisement of any offer of an inducement to participate in a gambling activity, including an inducement to bet more frequently.”

Liquor & Gaming NSW argued that once an account was created through the advertisements, access was provided to the SportChamps Tournament Betting Lobby webpage, which included access to free and paid gaming tournaments.

There users could access a deposit page where they were asked to insert credit card details and the deposit amount, or they could make direct EFT deposits to SportChamps.

Under NSW law, not only is it prohibited to offer any inducements to open betting accounts but also any inducements to refer friends to open betting accounts, keep a betting account open or consent to receive gambling advertising.

Operators are liable for a maximum penalty of $110,000 should they be found guilty.