Australia’s Betr Sportsbook Hit With Huge Fine for Ad Violations

Australia’s sports betting industry continues to deal with issues that put it in a bad light. In addition to sportsbooks admitting they punish sharps for being good at what they do, Betr is facing yet another fine for its inability to play by the rules.

A Betr ad promotes odds on a Cox Plate race
A Betr Australia ad promotes odds on a Cox Plate race. Liquor & Racing NSW has determined the ad is one of several that violated advertising regulations. (Image: Racenet)

Betr has had difficulty since it launched last year. It introduced a Melbourne Cup promotion to entice bettors to sign up, but it went sideways when users said they had their accounts closed so the operator wouldn’t have to pay.

It also had to pay fines for breaking advertising rules in the Northern Territories that cost it at least AUD75,000 (US$51,082). The latest violations come in New South Wales (NSW), where Betr has received a record fine for its Melbourne Cup promotion.

Betr Not A Better Bet For Bettors

In a statement by the regulator, Liquor & Gaming NSW said it has hit Betr with a fine of AUD210,000 (US$142,296) for violating regulations. It’s reportedly the largest fine to date given to a gaming operator in the state for breaking the rules related to inducements.

The sportsbook gave odds of 100-1 and 20-1 on several events last year, including the Melbourne Cup, Australian Football League (AFL) games, the Cox Plate and others. The company spared no expense in advertising the promotions, putting them in newspapers, on TV and radio and online.

However, the ads were inducements – they were so far out of the range of expected odds on the events that they could entice anyone to place a wager. Therefore, Liquor & Gaming NSW, like the Northern Territories, felt obligated to respond.

The regulator issued 14 violations, all of which Betr has agreed to pay to “resolve the matter amicably.” However, it also insists that its ads were “in accordance with the law and entirely consistent with the guidance published by Liquor and Gaming NSW.”

The guidance, according to the regulator, specifies that most betting promotions are to be accessible only to an operator’s existing customer base. When advertising promotions to attract new customers, these cannot contain “enhanced odds or bonus bets.” They also have to avoid language that could “entice people to open a betting account.”

Betr Losing Face With Investors

Betr may be new to the market, but it’s not new to the business. Behind it is founder Matthew Tripp, a long-time figure in the sports betting industry. Among his resume highlights from the past are a stint as the CEO of sports betting operator BetEasy and chairman of Sportsbet.

To get Betr off the ground, Tripp was able to get News Corp Australia to invest AUD49 million (US$33.19 million) in exchange for one-third of the company. However, it now may be turning its back on him.

News Corp, one of many under billionaire Rupert Murdoch’s umbrella, had two executives serving on Betr’s board, Peter Blunden and Mark Reinke. They have both given up their positions in recent months with no explanation. However, their departures left only Tripp and two others on the board.

In addition, News Corp is reportedly losing money because of Betr. When it gave a financial health update in March covering the last six months of 2022, it acknowledged affiliate losses of approximately AUD33 million (US$22.35 million). Part of this was because of Betr’s marginal performance, and News Corp could be looking for a way to lower its stake even more.

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