VGCCC Hands $32K Fine to BlueBet over Illegal Billboard Ads

The Victorian Gambling and Casino Control Commission (VGCCC) has fined BlueBet, ordering it to pay the regulator’s agreed costs. According to the official announcement, the gambling operator was found guilty of 43 charges of displaying gambling advertising on or above a public road.

For reference, such display of gambling advertisements is illegal in the Australian state, violating the Gambling Regulation Act 2003. As a result, a member of the public filed a complaint, prompting the authority to investigate the matter. After confirming the allegations, the VGCCC charged BlueBet in August 2023.

According to the charges, BlueBet advertised its gambling products on digital billboards between August and September 2022. Its advertisement appeared at a variety of locations, including the following:

Princes Freeway on the Point Cook Road Overpass (Laverton)   

Princes Freeway on the Princes Highway Overpass (Point Cook)   

Western Freeway Melton – Werribee Road (Rockbank)   

Western Freeway before Ballarat Road Overpass (Ravenhall)   

Princes Freeway on Sneydes Road Overpass (Werribee)

As a result, BlueBet was slapped with a fine of AUD 50,000 ($32,400).

The Regulator Acknowledged BlueBet’s Cooperation

Magistrate Greg Thomas commented on the matter, saying that he wasn’t convinced by BlueBet’s claim that it wasn’t aware that its ads were violating the law. Considering the billboards’ prime position to target men between 15 and 54, Thomas found it “difficult to accept” the operator’s defense.

If the breaches were truly accidental, Thomas added, this would signify a “high degree of negligence” by BlueBet. He added that he was prepared to fine BlueBet AUD 70,000 but reduced the charges thanks to the operator’s guilty plea, cooperation with the VGCCC and remediation measures.

Annette Kimmitt, chief executive of the VGCCC, agreed with the verdict. She also noted that gambling advertising should not be visible on public roads where it is “readily visible to children and other vulnerable groups.”

These places are especially difficult to avoid as part of day-to-day activities. This decision sends a clear message to wagering providers that flout these protections for our community.

Annette Kimmitt, CEO, VGCCC

The authority urged the public to report instances of illegal advertising by contacting the authority on the phone or through its complaints and tip-offs page.

In other BlueBet-related news, the operator recently finalized its historic merger with betr. The news led to a temporary spike in the former company’s share price, although the value of the stock normalized in the days to follow.