Bet365 saddled with $2.75M fee by Australian Court
Online sportsbook Bet365 (SBR rating A+) must pay a massive $2.75 million fine for allegedly "misleading" Australian punters with their free bet advertisements.
The Australian federal court ruled that Bet365's $200 free bet offer for new customers was misleading because customers had to deposit and wager $200 first.
However, the Bet365 website made clear that the bonus would be credited after a qualifying deposit and wager was made, and that the deposit and bonus would need to be rolled over three times.
“This judgment makes it clear that companies cannot use the word ‘free’ in offers to consumers where any conditions that seek to neutralise the ‘free’ nature of the offer are not clearly identified,” said Chairman Rod Sims of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Many bookmakers, particularly UK bookies, promote free bets to players without accounts. It is clear to most that there are terms and conditions related to each offer. SBR Forum poster "Domestic" summed it up best in an SBR Sportsbook & Industry forum post:
SBR Poster Domestic: "The terms and conditions were pretty clear in regards to the turnover requirements and how the offer worked. I benefited from their sign up offer in 2010 or 2011 and was always aware of how it was structured. I don't enjoy defending bet365 but if someone does not take three minutes to read through a couple of paragraphs outlining exactly how the offer works before they sign up and make a deposit then I don't have much sympathy for them."
This is not the first bizarre position taken in regards to sports betting companies by Australia: the country actually makes live, in-play sports betting illegal.
Sportsbook Review's Natalie Rydstrom covered the ruling against Bet365 in today's industry news report.