FCA welcomes tough stance by ACMA on unlawful spamming by Sportsbet

Financial counsellors applaud the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for imposing the largest penalty ever given a fine of $2.5 million on Sportsbet.

This is a media release from Financial Counselling Australia. It was originally published on 10th February, 2022.

The betting company will also refund customers $1.2 million after an extensive ACMA investigation found it had breached spam laws.

“We welcome ACMA’s tough stance on this sort of behaviour. Spamming people with gambling addictions is appalling and this case is even more disturbing because the people affected had tried to unsubscribe,” said Lauren Levin, the Director of Policy and Campaigns at Financial Counselling Australia (FCA).

ACMA found Sportsbet sent more than 150,000 texts and emails to over 37,000 consumers who had tried to unsubscribe. It also sent more than 3,000 texts that had no unsubscribe function.

“This sort of marketing causes real harm to people who are already suffering,” Ms Levin said.

“One former gambler told me it’s like dropping a crate of beer at the front door of a reforming alcoholic. It’s just not right.

“This is why Australia needs a proper roadmap for change across the gambling sector and this must include a total ban on all gambling advertising and marketing of this sort.”

FCA and Suicide prevention Australia yesterday released a report called “Gambling and suicide prevention: A roadmap for change”, which outlines some key recommendations.

Financial counsellors assist people experiencing financial difficulty. They provide information and advice to help people tackle their financial problems and to minimise the risk of issues occurring in the future. Financial counselling services are free, confidential and independent.

You can access free and confidential information and advice from professional financial counsellors at the National Debt Helpline. You can reach them at 1800 007 007 or via their online chat service, on weekdays between 9:30am and 4:30pm.

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