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Matthew Tripp’s new Australian betting operation Betr has been fined A$75,000 by the Northern Territory Racing Commission (NTRC).

The NTRC licenses and oversees most of Australia’s online betting operations. 

Betr, which is run by Tripp and backed by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Australian betting technology supplier BetMakers and Las Vegas-based Tekkorp Capital, was found to be in breach of the NTRC’s advertising rules.

After receiving its operating licence on 5 October 2022, but before launching operations on 12 October, an affiliate of the operator sent direct marketing messages to a self-excluded customer, referred to by the NTRC as “Mr. M”.

Mr. M had previously registered for permanent self-exclusion from online gambling in October 2021. NTRC records indicate that Betr had received a copy of the full list of self-excluded customers on 5 October, including Mr. M’s details.

Although Betr was aware of the list of self-excluded customers, its affiliates and business development relationship managers were not.

As a result, a text message was sent to the individual reading: “Hi [Mr. M’s first name], [relationship manager’s first name] from betr here. Just giving you a quick call as we are a new sportsbook launching next week.

“We are backed by Newscorp and Matt Tripp. I was reaching out to see if you like a punt and would be interested in trying us when we launch? I am one of the Relationship Managers and personally manage key accounts.

“I’ll send over a link on the day we launch, which you can use to signup if you want to try us and have a punt with me. If you do sign-up, please send back your username so I can ensure you are tracked to me.

“If you have any questions, please sing out or give me a call at a time that suits. Look forward to hearing back from you soon.”

The NTRC determined that the SMS should be considered direct marketing material and that Betr was therefore in breach of its regulations.

In a separate instance, Betr was also found to have made unsolicited approaches to four customers or former customers of a New South Wales-licensed bookmaker.

NTRC regulations state that “Online gambling providers are not to call or otherwise urge non-gambling customers to use their gambling services,” and that “online gambling providers must not send any direct marketing material to a person without their express consent to receive such material.”

In response, Betr challenged the regulator’s definition of “non-gambling customers,” suggesting that the terminology referred only to existing customers whose accounts lay dormant.

The NTRC said that definition was not in keeping with the spirit of its regulations, and that “non-gambling customers” instead refers to any person who is not a “gambling customer” of the operator – thus including anyone who does not hold an account.

Betr has since assured the NTRC that it takes its regulatory obligations seriously and has issued instructions to all of its affiliates not to contact any customer until they have validated that the person is contactable under the regulations.

Further, the operator sent no communications to any of the affected individuals once they indicated they did not wish to receive communications.

The NTRC’s fine represents the maximum possible amount for each of three separate breaches, and said that in the event of further breaches of the same rules, “the Commission will consider carefully whether other disciplinary options should be imposed.”

Those options could include a suspension of Betr’s licence.

This is the latest regulatory breach reported in Australia, after BetDeluxe operator Noah Rose was issued with a A$50,172 infringement notice over spam advertising by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) earlier this week.

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