First time for this kind of breach

Australia: ACMA warns Tabcorp over 37 illegal online in-play bets

Reading time 1:16 min

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced Thursday the issuance of a formal warning to Tabcorp Holding Ltd after it was found to have accepted 37 illegal online in-play bets on a United States college basketball team. 

Online in-betting is prohibited in Australia under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001. After receiving a complaint, the ACMA’s investigation found that Tabcorp accepted 37 illegal bets on January 3, 2021. 

Authority member Fiona Cameron said this is the first time the ACMA has taken action against an operator for a breach of online in-play betting rules, and commented: “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. 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”. 

Tabcorp responded 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. The company has claimed to pay out winning bets and refund losing bets upon realizing the mistake. 

“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”.

“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”, Cameron concluded.  

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