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BlueBet Fined for Advertising Violations in Victoria

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The Victoria Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has issued BlueBet with a fine of AU$50,000 (PS26,017/EUR30,437/US$32,434) for breaching rules in the Australian state on gambling advertising.

BlueBet has been found guilty on 43 counts of advertising gambling above or below a road. The Gambling Regulation Act of 2003 is the law in Victoria that governs this offence.

The VGCCC investigated a public complaint. BlueBet ads appeared at various locations along freeways for two weeks between August 2022 and September 2022.

The VGCCC filed charges against BlueBet after noticing such breaches. Since then, the case was heard by the court. Magistrate Greg Thomas stated that he did not accept BlueBet’s claim of ignorance, especially given how prominent the billboards were, targeting males between 15 and 54 years old.

Thomas said that although he did not find a guilty verdict, he believed the violations were “highly negligent” if they had been accidental. BlueBet, in its ruling on the matter, was found guilty on 43 counts of advertising gambling on or over a road.

Thomas stated that he had fined BlueBet $70,00 and recorded a guilty verdict. A lower amount, however, was reached due to the fact that BlueBet had pleaded guilty, cooperated with the VGCCC, and implemented changes in order to avoid these violations happening again.

BlueBet is now required to pay $50,000 as well as all agreed costs with VGCCC.

Annette Kimmitt, CEO of VGCCC said that gambling advertising had no place in public places where children and vulnerable groups could easily see it. These places can be difficult to ignore as part of daily activities. The decision is a strong message for wagering companies that ignore the protections of our community.

Victoria operators now face online restrictions

This ruling follows Victoria’s introduction of new gambling account rules. This includes how the players see their losses and spending.

The changes will take effect on 1 April and focus on the way certain information about online gambling is presented to users. The changes include information about spending and the net loss of players, which excludes free bets and bonuses. The monthly Net Win Statements will also subtract the total payout from all bets.

Licensees should also use simple English when they present data, and not resort to unnecessary jargon. Monthly statements should include a warning about the harms of gambling.

Victoria is taking measures to protect its consumers against gambling-related harm. The VGCCC increased their efforts in recent months to crack down on operators who violate rules.

MintBet has been fined AU$150k for repeatedly violating responsible gambling laws. Tabcorp had to go cashless on most electronic betting terminals in January after multiple instances of gambling by underage people.

New era for BlueBet

BlueBet will be hit by the fine, but it will not detract from recent news about the acquisition. BlueBet signed a contract last week to buy Betr’s wagering operation.

BlueBet stated that this will enable it to build an expanded organisation in Australia, with a larger scale and more market share. BlueBet plans to issue around 265.4 millions fully-paid shares to Betr investors. It is approximately 56.9% BlueBet shares.

Closing conditions include the approval of BlueBet’s shareholders. BlueBet has “unanimously recommended” that shareholders vote for the merger. They say it will create significant value.

BlueBet anticipates completing the transaction by July 1 if all conditions are met.

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