- There are operators entering into sponsorship deals with sports clubs induce members to sign up with them
- VGCCC alleges clubs and their members are offered incentives by gambling firms
- VGCCC warned that the practice must stop as it is breaching gambling regulations
The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has reminded online gambling firms and sports clubs of their legal duty and social responsibility when entering into sponsorship deals.
In a statement to the media, the state’s gambling regulator flagged a potentially illegal practice by online wagering providers wherein they entice club members to create accounts by offering them financial incentives.
Operators Offering Incentives to Athletes to Induce Them to Gamble
Under section 4.7.10 of the Gambling Regulation Act 2003, online gambling firms are not allowed to offer any reward, voucher, credit, or other benefit to persuade customers to sign up with them.
However, it has come to the attention of the VGCCC that some online betting providers have signed sponsorship agreements with sports clubs to encourage athletes to register with their online gambling platforms. Those who sign up are given incentives, and their respective clubs also receive extra perks, depending on the spending by their members.
The VGCCC warned betting firms to discontinue such practices as they could be in violation of the law. Moreover, they could result in an increased incidence of gambling harm, which goes against their social responsibility.
The regulator said gambling providers must be fully compliant to avoid sanctions.
In this regard, the VGCCC stated that sporting clubs must be “mindful of community expectations” with regards to incentivizing members, including younger ones, to engage in any gambling activity. Clubs have been warned to avoid getting involved in sponsorship agreements with betting firms engaged in illegal practices that could end up causing harm to members.
Debate on Sponsorship Deals Continues
Issues surrounding sponsorship deals between sporting clubs and gambling providers have been a major subject of discussion in Australia amid calls for a ban on gambling advertising during sporting events.
The warning from the VGCCC comes just a few weeks after the state introduced a ban on betting markets for sports where all participants are minors. Under the new measure, bets are no longer allowed on sports events involving participants who are under 19 years old. The ban was put in place over concerns betting on minors may normalize gambling among younger people.
Additionally, the practice also raises integrity issues, according to the VGCCC. Non-compliance with the ban could result in prosecution against betting firms and revocation of approval of sports controlling bodies.