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WATERHOUSE LOSES PUNT WITH GAMBLING LAWS

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WATERHOUSE LOSES PUNT WITH GAMBLING LAWS
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Prominent bookmaker Rob Waterhouse has been convicted of illegal gambling advertising and fined $4,500 in Downing Centre Local Court today.

In 2020 Liquor & Gaming NSW responded to reports Rob Waterhouse was offering a ‘five daily boosts promotion’ advertised on his website and Twitter.

Mr Waterhouse, an established on-course bookmaker and new addition to the online betting world, was charged with offences under the Betting and Racing Act 1998 relating to publishing prohibited gambling-related advertisements.

The maximum penalty for an individual charged with the offence of publishing a gambling advertisement containing a prohibited inducement is $11,000.

Mr Waterhouse pleaded guilty and was fined in relation to the website publication of a gambling advertisement containing a prohibited inducement, as it was promoting the opportunity to obtain increased or higher odds up to five times a day. Mr Waterhouse was also dealt with in relation to promoting the same advertisement on Twitter.

Liquor & Gaming NSW Executive Director Investigations and Enforcement, Valerie Griswold, said the promotions were a breach of the law because they constituted inducements to gamble and were available to be viewed by members of the public who were not betting account holders.

“The prospect of collecting more punters should not be an incentive to break the law. The law is there to help people keep their gambling under control,” Ms Griswold said.

“Anyone struggling with their gambling habits is going to have a hard time resisting ads that offer multiple Bet Boosts.”

More and more operators are moving into the online space with 18 out of 29 on-course bookmakers now licensed in NSW to conduct telephone and electronic betting.

Rob Waterhouse joined other on-course bookmakers who went online in 2020 after COVID kept punters off the tracks.

“There’s a lot of competition for business at the moment, particularly in the online market which has doubled in size as other traditional forms of gambling have contracted,” Ms Griswold said.

“This is going to create an environment where betting service providers are vying for people’s business, so it’s important that advertisements don’t inadvertently encourage gambling harms in the process.”

Mr Waterhouse has the option to appeal against the sentence.

Australia

MULTICULTURAL SERVICE SPEAKS GAMBLING HARMS

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MULTICULTURAL SERVICE SPEAKS GAMBLING HARMS
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A new service provider has been appointed to support the provision of multicultural services for the Office of Responsible Gambling’s flagship GambleAware program.

Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) is now working with GambleAware Providers to deliver culturally appropriate counselling and support services for people experiencing gambling harm across NSW’s diverse communities.

WSLHD have more than 20 years’ experience delivering multicultural services through the Transcultural Mental Health Centre and previously operated the state-wide Multicultural Problem Gambling Service.

WSLHD Chief Executive Graeme Loy said: “We’re looking forward to working with all GambleAware Providers across NSW to build capacity to support multicultural communities and deliver culturally appropriate services.

“Our goal is to ensure that anyone who needs help can speak to someone in the language they are most comfortable with, and who understands both their culture and community.”

The GambleAware multicultural service complements the NSW Government’s broader GambleAware program, which provides free and confidential counselling to anyone in NSW experiencing gambling harm.

Office of Responsible Gambling Director, Natalie Wright, said that gambling issues affect all communities in NSW, particularly those from culturally diverse backgrounds, and everyone should be supported when facing gambling harm.

“It’s important that our services can reach everyone who needs them,” said Ms Wright.

“No matter your background, you are able to access appropriate support in the language and setting that best suits you.”

Research funded by the Office of Responsible Gambling found culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities are vulnerable to increased risks of gambling related harm. Individuals from these communities tend to participate in gambling less than the overall population but, when they do, are more likely to experience problems.

Intersecting factors can also combine to generate higher incidence of gambling harms in CALD communities. For example: different beliefs about luck and chance; migration stressors; issues around stigma and shame; and lower rates of people seeking treatment.

WSLHD Chief Executive Graeme Loy said: “Given these vulnerabilities, this partnership is a great opportunity to connect multicultural communities across NSW with vital support services.”

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Australia

Australia Regulator Expands Money Laundering Probe at Casino Firm Star

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Australia’s financial crime regulator said on Friday it had broadened its ongoing investigation of the country’s second-biggest casino operator Star Entertainment Group over possible breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws at its casinos.

The sector has been plagued by a slew of regulatory inquiries in Australia and the development highlights casino firms’ shortcomings in managing strict oversight of alleged money laundering at their gambling hotspots.

The Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC) launched a probe in June into Star’s casino in Sydney amid concerns over ongoing customer due diligence and compliance with laws.

Local media later reported on a confidential review that accused Star of failure to curb fraud and money laundering at its two resorts.

The investigation into Star will now include multiple entities under the company, AUSTRAC said on Friday, declining to comment further as the probe was ongoing.

The company said earlier in the day that it would fully co-operate with AUSTRAC’s investigation.

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Australia

SETTING LIMITS MAKES A DIFFERENCE, BUT GAMBLERS NEED MORE PROMPTS TO OPT-IN

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SETTING LIMITS MAKES A DIFFERENCE, BUT GAMBLERS NEED MORE PROMPTS TO OPT-IN
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CQUniversity researchers have found bet limits can help keep Australia’s online gamblers out of hot water, but the majority of consumers aren’t using the money-saving mechanism. 

In a new study funded by Gambling Research Australia (GRA), experts at CQUniversity’s Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory (EGRL) found consumers are not always prompted to use the betting limit option. The new research further suggests making the scheme mandatory and capping maximum limits would strengthen harm prevention. 

Researchers surveyed more than 3,000 regular race and sports bettors and found 41 per cent had set a deposit limit, but more than half considered themselves ‘unlikely’ to set one. Those participants who set limits found them very useful, with a quarter finding the intervention prevented overspending at least once a week.

Since mid-2019, Australian online betting agencies have been required to let consumers set deposit limits for their online gambling, and to regularly prompt users about setting up or reviewing their limits. 

Lead author and CQUniversity Research Professor Nerilee Hing, said consumers had a choice of limits with some operators. Research found deposit restrictions were the most popular, followed by an overall spend limit, a single bet amount limit, and a loss limit. A limit on the time spent gambling was the least popular among participants, with just 22 per cent switching on the clock. 

“We also looked at what type of person was more likely to set limits. Of those with more serious gambling problems, 45.6 per cent were setting at least one limit,” Professor Hing said. 

“This is encouraging, however as this group benefits the most from opt-in limits, the fact that more than half aren’t taking that option suggests there’s still a need to address why people are unwilling to limit their betting.”  

Professor Hing and her team then presented participants with a series of tailored messages about bet limits and tested these in a randomised trial with more than 1,200 regular consumers. 

Across the four-week trial, limit setting increased among participants, with 32 per cent adopting at least one type of limit. Those with a severe gambling problem were significantly more likely to set a limit. 

“The study showed that prompt messages need to be consistent to allow gamblers to self-reflect. Then we see better uptake of limits,” Professor Hing said.

This research supports evaluation of the voluntary opt-out pre-commitment measure and refinements to strengthen the National Framework. A joint Commonwealth, state and territory government endeavour, the National Framework provides protections for consumers of interactive wagering services licensed in Australia, in line with international best practice. 

Gambling Research Australia (GRA) is a joint Commonwealth, state and territory program, established to develop an effective evidence base to support gambling policy and regulatory decisions. The Commonwealth has contributed half the annual funding of the GRA program. The combined funding contribution from states and territories has matched the annual funding from the Commonwealth, based on the proportion of national gambling expenditure.

Study co-authors were CQUniversity researchers Prof Matthew Browne, Dr Alex M T Russell, ProfMatthew Rockloff and Catherine Tulloch.

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