The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has demanded that gaming operators cease using sports club partnerships to attract new players. The gaming regulator reported that some online wagering providers are entering into sponsorship agreements to induce their members to create accounts with the provider by linking financial incentives to each member of the club that signs up. Clubs are sometimes given additional incentives based on the spending by their members.
Under Section 4.7.10 of the Gambling Regulation Act 2003, providers are prohibited from offering any credit, voucher, reward, or other benefit as an incentive to open an account or refer another person to open an account. The Commission said such actions would also be considered a breach of operators’ "social license." This runs in tandem with their legal license in Victoria.
"The VGCCC demands wagering service providers cease promoting their products in this manner as they may be in breach of legislation by doing so, in addition to being inconsistent with their social license to minimize harm," the VGCCC said in a statement.
"The VGCCC doesn't just hold gambling providers to the minimum letter of the law – but their social license as well," the Commission added.
Sports clubs must be mindful of community expectations around encouraging members to sign up for gambling products, the body added. The warning is the regulator’s latest attempt at restricting gambling’s expansion within the state.
The VGCCC took over as the state's regulator in July of 2022 with a mandate to minimize gambling harm and problem gambling. In June, the VGCCC said operators would be responsible for preventing and minimizing gambling harm. It said it would take a zero-tolerance approach to those that deliberately contravene their obligations.
Crown Casino Melbourne
Victoria recently banned betting on all youth sports competitions. And in another recent move, the Australian state recently announced a suite of new gambling reforms aimed at reducing harms from "pokies." Victoria announced these reforms following the Royal Commission inquiry into malpractice at Crown Melbourne.
In April 2022, the Commission found the casino "unsuitable" to hold a license in the state. It also found that the casino engaged in conduct that was "illegal, dishonest, unethical, and exploitative."