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Australia: ACMA finds major gambling companies providing illegal in-play sports bets

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Australian gambling companies are once again in the news after being caught providing illegal in-play bets. As the name suggests, the gambling companies were allowing people to bet on events during the matches.

According to Australian gambling laws, in order to have a fair betting environment, bets cannot be placed on sports events that have already started. Meanwhile, the punters are upset after learning about the news and are now demanding refunds.

Companies like Sportsbet, Bet365 and Entain were found in violation of the gambling laws by the Australian Media and Communications Agency (ACMA). The ACMA, after their six-month-long investigation, found that the gambling companies generated “fast code” which could be used in their respective app to place bets after the game commenced, The Guardian reported.

A spokesperson for ACMA said, “Following the investigations, all three operators have taken steps to ensure their use of fast/quick codes complies with relevant interactive gambling rules. In view of these steps taken, the ACMA has decided not to take any further enforcement action at this time.”

Gambling companies, however, did not agree with the ruling, claiming that all betting information was provided over the phone. “Customers are not able to place in-play wagers within seconds and must speak to operators fully trained in responsible gambling. Any abnormal and/or red flag behaviour is investigated and passed through to the responsible gambling team,” Entain argued.

ACMA has been working as the main regulator to reduce gambling harm. Moreover, the decision to let gambling companies off the hook did not sit well with long-time harm reduction campaigner, Lauren Levin.

Calling out the gambling companies, Levin said, “Arguably these bets, being prohibited by the law, should be made void and consumers should be entitled to refunds. It cannot follow that companies should be allowed to profit from offering an illegal service.”

Australia’s gambling industry in the past few months has undergone huge changes. The government is planning to limit the exposure to gambling advertisements for young people. Multiple restrictions and fines have been levied, with talks of completely banning gambling adverts also occurring.

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