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Australian sole trader Noah Rose, trading as BetDeluxe, has been ordered to pay a A$50,172 infringement notice over spam advertising.

This comes after an investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found the brand had sent more than 800,000 texts without the sender’s contact details and another 100,000 without an unsubscribe notice.

The communications watchdog said this is the latest enforcement outcome from a crackdown on spam advertising.

In February 2022, Sportsbet paid A$3.7m in penalties and customer refunds after bulk messaging customers who had already tried to unsubscribe.

BetDeluxe’s texts, sent between December 2021 and February 2022, encouraged customers to have a “cheeky punt” at their “VIP service” for racing and sports, also promoting bonus bets and money-back offers.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin: “The online gambling industry, including the smaller players, should be on notice that the ACMA is actively monitoring for indications of non-compliance with the spam rules, and the penalties can be serious.”

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said it was unacceptable to send commercial messages with no way for consumers to opt out.

“We received complaints from a significant number of people, with many expressing their frustration about receiving promotions for gambling,” she said.

“Any spam can be annoying, but when gambling is involved the risk of financial and emotional harm can be pronounced, so it’s important that wagering operators take compliance very seriously,” O’Loughlin added.

Not just larger companies

BetDeluxe has agreed to a two-year court-enforceable undertaking with the ACMA and committed to an independent review of its e-marketing practices.

Additionally, the operator must provide spam training to its staff and give regular compliance reports to the ACMA.

“We will be closely monitoring BetDeluxe’s compliance and the legally binding commitments it has made to the ACMA,” O’Loughlin said.

“The online gambling industry, including the smaller players, should be on notice that the ACMA is actively monitoring for indications of non-compliance with the spam rules, and the penalties can be serious.”

Over the past 18 months, the Australian authority has issued A$6.4m in penalties to businesses for breaching spam and telemarketing laws.

It has also accepted 13 court-enforceable undertakings and given one formal warning.

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