Gambling Law and Regulation Newsletter – December 2017

Welcome to the December 2017 edition of Addisons Gambling Law & Regulation Newsletter.

2017 will be remembered for a number of significant industry changes relating to gambling in Australia. This Newsletter addresses a number of the legal developments relating to the gambling industry that occurred in the course of this year.

Matters covered in this Newsletter are:

  • A summary of the powers of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 (IGA) following its amendment by the Interactive Gambling Amendment Act which came into force on 13 September 2017: The ACMA’s new teeth: The Long Arm of Australia’s Gambling Law;
  • Comments on various cases involving the wagering sector, particularly in NSW, namely:
    • The Jelly Bean prosecution of Tabcorp: A sweet victory for the NSW regulator: Tabcorp fined for jelly bean promotion;
    • The application by Crownbet seeking clarification of the right to display advertising relating to interstate betting operators in association with New South Wales venues: Digitalising the monopoly: The CrownBet and ClubsNSW digital affiliate case.
  • We have no doubt that further clarification of New South Wales law, and the laws of other States and Territories relating to advertising restrictions on wagering, will occur in the course of 2018.
  • There has been widespread commentary globally relating to the interaction between certain aspects of video games and gambling law. This is highlighted by the recent discussion relating to loot boxes: The gloves are off on the gaming Battlefront: International and Australian gambling regulators weigh in on loot boxes.
  • 2018 will bring in significant changes to privacy law both in Australia and in Europe. These changes will have material ramifications for the gambling sector. Privacy developments in 2018 and their impact on the gambling sector;
  • A summary of one of the areas in which our team is actively involved, being the conduct of probity investigations. We often find that our clients do not have much knowledge about the probity process and we summarise both the objective of the process and some of the difficulties involved: Probing “probity”: What you should know about suitability investigations in the gambling sector.
  • Secondary lotteries have been a hot topic in relation to the conduct of online gambling in Australia with a number of recent regulatory developments: The Lottoland Effect Part 2: Weathering the Regulatory Storm in Australia.

    Unfortunately, this Newsletter does not enable us to comment on all of the legal and industry developments which have occurred in 2017. Some of the more material issues are outlined below:
  • In the last couple of weeks, Tabcorp has completed successfully its merger with Tatts Group. This will result in material changes in the gambling sector in Australia, due to the scale of the merged entity, which includes the combination of their exclusive retail wagering licensed businesses in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory.
  • AUSTRAC has been particularly active. This is evidenced by its recent prosecution of Australia’s largest bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. However, earlier in the year, the long running proceedings brought by AUSTRAC against Tabcorp were settled under which Tabcorp paid a record $45 million penalty with attendant costs involving, reportedly, an additional $45 million.

    These proceedings make it very clear that Australian gambling businesses need to be aware of their obligations under Australia’s anti-money laundering laws.
  • Suggestions have been made that features of poker machines are misleading and deceptive. This is the subject of both an action before the Federal Court brought against Crown Casino and Aristocrat. This issue was also addressed in a 2015 report by the University of Sydney Gambling Treatment Clinic released recently by the New South Wales Government. Expect to see more about this issue in 2018.

We trust that you enjoy this edition of our Gambling Law & Regulation Newsletter.

If you have any queries or wish to discuss any of the matters set out in this Newsletter or otherwise relating to gambling regulation in Australia or elsewhere, please do not hesitate to contact any of Addisons’ Media and Gambling Team.

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