ASX-listed sports betting provider BlueBet is facing charges for unlawful gambling advertising on billboards in Victoria. The state’s regulator, the Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC), released an official statement yesterday, revealing details about the charges pressed against the betting company. According to the watchdog, the operator suffered charges for 43 separate breaches of the state’s Gambling Regulation Act 2003. The betting firm has allegedly violated Section 4.7.1 of the legislation, which stipulates that it is an offence to display gambling-related advertisements in certain public spaces, including on public transport infrastructure, public roads, and within 150 metres of schools.
The VGCCC clarified in its statement that BlueBet advertised its betting services on billboards in several locations between August 29th and September 11th, 2022. The billboards in question were located on public roads in the cities of Werribee, Laverton, Rockbank, Ravenhall, and Point Cook. Three of the ads were placed on Princes Freeway, while the other two were displayed on Western Freeway.
Each of the 43 charges pressed against the betting operator attracts a monetary penalty of 120 units. In turn, each unit was valued at AU$184.92 at the time when the violations occurred. The publicly listed gambling company could be sanctioned with approximately AU$954,187 in fines if declared guilty.
A Member of the Public Complained to the VGCCC about the BlueBet Billboards
Jason Cremona, who heads the Regulatory Services Division of the VGCCC, commented on the matter, stressing that all betting operators advertising their services in Australia’s second-smallest state must do so in full compliance with the relevant gambling legislation. Mr Cremona pointed out the regulatory body would not tolerate any such violations, especially when they exacerbate gambling-related harm. The VGCCC started investigating the matter after a member of the public lodged an online complaint and informed the regulator about the BlueBet billboards.
The Regulatory Services Division Director encouraged all residents of the state to use the VGCCC complaints and tip-off portal to inform the watchdog about future instances of similar misconduct on behalf of gambling operators. The regulatory body will abstain from further comments on the charges against BlueBet until the court arrives at a decision regarding the case.
This is not the first time the horse racing and sports betting operator is getting into gripes with Aussie gambling regulators. As CasinoGuardian reported in June, BlueBet received a show-cause notice from Liquor and Gaming NSW after facing allegations of breaching the federal rules concerning the obligatory messages operators must include in their ads to tackle gambling harm. As of March 2023, all online betting firms operating in New South Wales are required to include one of seven gambling-harm-reduction messages in their advertisements in place in the previously used “Gamble Responsibly” tagline. BlueBet declined to comment at the time.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.