Bet365 Offered Fake ‘Free Bets’; Gets Fined

Aussie bookmaker Bet365, found guilty of attracting new punters with phony “free bets,” has been fine A$2.8 million for the illicit offer. In the fine print, gamblers were informed they had to spend $200 to get a $200 credit.

Offer included multiple “gotchas”

Australia’s Federal Court has fined Bet365 A$2.8 million for its failure to plainly disclose the terms of a so-called “free bet.”

According to the Asia Gaming Brief, the online bookmaker offered the deal to enlist new punters. But there was a catch hidden in the fine print. Bettors who wanted $200 worth of free play had to deposit and spend $200 of their own money first.

Customers also had to gamble three times the value of the deposit and bonus within 90 days before withdrawing any winnings. They also had to bet on higher risk transactions, AGB reported.

Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said the penalty “should serve as a warning to all businesses that is it not acceptable to promote ‘free’ offers as a headline offer without ensuring that any restrictions or limitations are disclosed in a prominent way. Inducements like free bets run the risk of signing up new and inexperienced gamblers based on a deceptive claim.” The judge in the case agreed, calling the deal “a web of deception.”

A Bet365 spokesman said the problem was linked to a computer error. “Nevertheless, Bet365 regrets that, as a result of this error, it may not have adequately brought to the attention of customers terms and conditions associated with the promotion,” he said. “Bet365 has introduced stricter compliance processes and controls, as well as improved staff training to prevent a similar issue arising again.”

The offer was made over a 10-month period in 2013-14, after which it was detected by the ACCC, according to the website During the promotion, “a significant portion” of Bet365’s 73,000 active customers were affected, reported the Sydney Morning Herald. Bet365 was ordered by the court to send customers a corrective notice by email.