The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issued a formal warning to Australian betting operator Tabcorp. The sports wagering and media watchdog found that the bookmaker accepted 37 live bets on an American basketball game that took place on January 3, 2021, after it received a complaint about the incident.
In-play wagering is illegal in Australia under the Interactive Gambling Act 2001, so Tabcorb was, in essence, breaking the law for accepting bets on a basketball match that has already started.
A Technical Error
However, Tabcorp said that the whole in-play betting incident was a mistake. The wagering provider claimed that a technical error prevented it from realizing that the basketball game in question had already started.
The bookmaker said that the data provider supplied an incorrect start time for the college basketball game. So, the betting operator wasn’t accepting in-play wagers but was still taking bets on the pre-game/pre-live market even though the game had already begun.
In other words, the pre-game betting market for the game wasn’t closed when the match started, so the 37 individuals that wagered on the game after the action commenced, were actually betting on the game’s pre-match markets and pre-match odds.
Tabcorp said that it regretted that the mistake occurred but that it fixed it as soon as it noticed that the pre-game betting markets were not shut down on time. Moreover, the bookmaker said that to minimize the impact on bettors, it decided to pay out all winning bets and void the losing wagers.
Tabcorp Should Have Voided the Bets
Fiona Cameron, an ACMA member, said that in-play betting posed a great risk to Australian punters who were in danger of developing a gambling problem. She claimed that the live betting rules had been put in place for many years and that Tabcorp had enough time to create systems that ensured its Australian customers didn’t get in-play betting opportunities, even when that happened by mistake.
The ACMA member added that Tabcorp paying out winning wagers on a prohibited market was “inappropriate” and that the bookmaker shouldn’t have taken the bets in the first place. She felt it would have been much better if the wagering provider voided the bets as soon as it realized its mistake.
Ms. Cameron said that with the official warning they issued to Tabcorp, they also told the entire betting industry that it must put “robust systems in place” so that something like the Tabcorb live betting incident didn’t happen again.
The ACMA member also said that in case a similar error happened to Tabcorp or some other bookmaker, and they were sure that it was a genuine mistake, they would look favourably on bookmakers that voided the in-play bets, instead of accepting and paying them out.