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The courts have sent a strong message to those who post illegal gambling advertisements, fining Merlehan Bookmaking Pty Ltd, trading as TopSport, $60,000 last week, as a result of an investigation by Liquor & Gaming NSW.

Liquor & Gaming’s Compliance Director Marcel Savary said under the Betting and Racing Act 1998, it is an offence to publish a gambling advertisement that offers any inducement to participate, or participate frequently, in any gambling activity.

“TopSport pleaded guilty to three illegal gambling advertisement offences in Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday and was fined $20,000 per offence, totalling $60,000. They were also ordered to pay Liquor & Gaming NSW’s legal costs,” Mr Savary said.

“Two of the offences relate to publications on the TopSport website of the availability of a ‘Top Up’ feature which is a form of enhanced odds. The third offence is related to the promotion of a weekly tipping competition on the Sporting Base website offering TopSport bonus bets as a prize for the top tipsters. The offences occurred in August and September 2020”

“The laws are there for a reason. Enhanced odds and tipping competitions linked to betting accounts have the ability to induce people to open a betting account when they otherwise may be refraining from gambling and they may encourage people to gamble more frequently.

“During sentencing the Magistrate noted TopSport didn’t have previous convictions for this type of offence however there was a need for specific and general deterrence,” Mr Savary said.

The maximum penalty is $110,000 for offences contrary to section 33H(1) of the Betting and Racing Act 1998.

Liquor & Gaming will continue to monitor betting service providers compliance with these laws and take strong action for serious and blatant offending.