Australian gambling operator Tabcorp is facing a slap on the wrist estimating to A$11,500 after it opted for an unconventional way to promote its business among the residents of Sydney. Promoters of the giant were seen handing out packs of jelly beans and mints to the people passing by Town Hall and Martin Place train stations in downtown Sydney.
The lack of warnings against gambling addiction on the packaging of the said candies was strongly criticized by the opposition in the face of the Greens. Slogans such as “Nothing’s as sweet as a win” and “We love a bet TAB” fail to represent the dangerous side of gambling and give a false idea to the impressionable minds of kids. The opposition stated that the promotional campaign was designed in a way which grabs the attention of gullible children.
The people responsible for the promotional campaign were handing the snack-sized candies in the peak hour when there are thousands of people commuting to and fro work, as well as many kids on their way to school or home. The lack of warnings could also lead to breaching laws regulating the advertisement of gambling in New South Wales. In this case, the maximum sanction for the gambling operator is going to reach A$5,500.
Authorities Throwing the Book at TAB
As a result of the actions of the gambling operator, an investigation was conducted by the Liquor & Gaming NSW department which led to the company’s conviction on two counts of producing gambling advertisement materials without the specifically required warning slogans and signs. Sean Goodchild is the Director of Compliance Operations at Liquor & Gaming NSW, and he stated that these actions are seriously violating the existing NSW Betting and Racing Regulation which regulates the sector.
Back in March, the Australia-listed company had a similar issue when it failed to include such warning in a previous campaign and in result, Tabcorp pleaded guilty in the Downing Centre Local Court. Mr. Goodchild stated that this kind of signs and warnings must be included in the gambling advertisement at all times so that people take their gambling habits into consideration and by knowing the risks, make an informed decision whether to participate in them or not.
Even though the Advertising Standards Board came out with a statement, saying that advertising is self-regulated and the lolly giveaway could not be defined as an advertisement campaign in its full sense, the issue with the missing warnings on the packs is still present. Justin Field, a Greens Member of Legislative Council stated that the form of advertising was far from appropriate and it was putting the idea of gambling in the minds of children in the state.
Tabcorp said that the ad campaign was targeting people above the age of 25, but it stopped the promotion immediately after the authorities began their research.