Entain has been directed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to pay a penalty of AU$13,320 (£7,060/€8,000/US$8,808) for violating national regulations related to online in-play betting.
The Ladbrokes and Neds brands of Entain accepted in-play wagers on the Bangkok LIV Golf tournament in October 2022, according to ACMA. On the final day of the competition, 78 bets were placed.
ACMA has imposed the maximum penalty possible under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 on Entain for allowing in-play betting, which is prohibited by Australian law. Entain has stated in its defense that its parent company mistakenly entered the wrong start time for the Bangkok LIV Golf tournament into its systems, resulting in 59 in-play bets being accepted through Ladbrokes and 19 through Neds after the event had already begun.
Entain said it only became aware of the error when alerted by a customer three hours after the day’s play had started and proceeded to void all the in-play bets. The group added that it had reviewed and updated its in-play compliance policy to ensure such errors do not occur again.
ACMA has issued its first-ever infringement notice for a breach of in-play betting regulations to Entain. ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin noted that online in-play betting carries a greater risk of gambling harm due to its fast-paced nature and the ability to place bets more frequently.
She expressed disappointment that Entain, being a seasoned wagering operator, did not have internal procedures to prevent or identify such an error. O’Loughlin further emphasized that ACMA had warned the industry last year to establish robust systems to prevent the availability or acceptance of online in-play bets.
“Online in-play betting increases the risk for those people experiencing gambling harm as it provides fast outcomes and allows for higher frequency of bets,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.
“Entain is a highly experienced wagering operator, and it is disappointing it did not have internal procedures in place to prevent or detect the error. “ACMA made it clear to the industry last year that they must have robust systems in place to ensure that online in-play bets are not made available or accepted.”