Yep, that time of the year where we all tune in to watch
betting promotions with the occasional rugby league break and
predict when and how New South Wales will meet its demise is almost
over. However, betting companies, or any companies for that matter,
that are thinking of offering something as 'free' might
just want to pay attention to a recent Federal Court
Late last year the Federal Court of Australia found that online
betting giant Bet365 engaged in misleading and deceptive behaviour
and made false representations regarding its promotions. As a
result, last month the Court ordered Bet365's Australian and UK
subsidiaries to pay penalties totalling $2.75 million.
It is important to note that gambling legislation varies between
the States and Territories. Betting companies can't advertise
free bets as a way to induce new customers to sign up in NSW, VIC,
WA and SA. But looks like offering free bets to attract new
customers in the other States and Territories might still get you
in to trouble.
How? Well Bet365's scam offer went something like this:
Step right up! Punters, come have a flutter! $200 worth of free
bets! Easy money right? Nothing to lose, everything to gain!
Don't worry ladies and gentlemen, you will get your free
bets, just deposit $200 and it's yours!
Good good. Your kindness is much obliged. Oh, forgot to
mention, minor detail. Now you need to gamble that $200! Today is
your lucky day!
See what they did there? To make matters worse, customers were
required to gamble their deposit and bonus three times before being
able to withdraw any money (yep, $1,200 folks). The Court obviously
saw through this snake oil salesmanlike pitch.
The lesson for companies is that if you are going to offer
something as free, you had better prominently disclose any
conditions attached to that offer so customers are aware from the
outset what they are in for. Or better yet, maybe offer something
that is genuinely free. Perfect example, we hear the NRL are
offering free blue wigs and free blue T-shirts in an
attempt to get NSW fans to go to the now redundant State of Origin
III. Maybe we can save them for next year?
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Businesses should ensure that any promotions do not cross a 'fine line' between acceptable and misleading or deceptive.
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