Tabcorp blamed bad third party match data as well as a “technical error” on its own systems for breaking Australia’s online betting rules.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued a formal warning to Tabcorp after the company “was found to have accepted 37 illegal online bets in play” in a match on January 3 this year.
Live online betting – betting on a sporting event after it has started – is prohibited in Australia under the law on interactive games of 2001.
This is the first time that a trader has been screwed for breaking the rules.
The ACMA opened an investigation after receiving a complaint, which it subsequently justified.
ACMA Authority member Fiona Cameron said in-game betting “can present a very high risk for problem gamblers.”
“These rules have been in place for many years and Tabcorp has had more than enough time to put in place systems to ensure that in-game bets are not offered on local or international sports,” she said.
Tabcorp told ACMA it failed to close bets on time “due to incorrect match information from a third party supplier, followed by a technical error by Tabcorp”.
The company said it paid the winning bets and refunded the losing bets “after realizing the mistake”.
The ACMA said the payment of winning bets was “inappropriate”, arguing that all bets should have been voided “so that neither operators nor bettors benefit from any prohibited activity”.
The authority added that while it could have imposed or requested legal sanctions against Tabcorp, it opted for a formal warning after reviewing “Tabcorp’s actions in dealing with illegal betting and its commitment to improve its systems and processes ”.