Australian Bookmaker Robbie Waterhouse Faces Gaming Laws Prosecution

Robbie Waterhouse comes from a long line of individuals with ties to Australia’s gambling industry. However, those connections and his experience aren’t keeping him out of trouble, as his sports betting company has run afoul with regulators.

Gai and Robbie Waterhouse
Gai and Robbie Waterhouse pose at the Spring Racing Carnival in Australia earlier this year. The bookmaker is facing a fine for allegedly receiving bets from a self-excluded bettor. (Image: ABTC)

New South Wales (NSW) is currently targeting the longtime bookmaker for prosecution. Liquor and Gaming NSW has accused him of violating the Betting and Racing Act, and want him to pay for his crimes.

The current gaming atmosphere in Australia, as well as in other countries, is one that emphasizes responsible gambling above everything else. The 67-year-old apparently missed the message, allowing a self-excluded bettor to continue wagering.

Repeat Offender

NSW explicitly prohibits operators from providing inducements or incentives, especially if these target someone who doesn’t want to see them. Waterhouse, the son of legendary bookmaker Bill Waterhouse, allegedly ignored the rules, repeatedly targeting a particular bettor.

The Age reports that Waterhouse, who was once banned from betting, is looking at 11 charges in a case that will soon make an appearance in court. All of them involve the same individual.

Five of the charges relate to offering incentives to the bettor after he had requested that his account be closed. The other six are for accepting bets after he submitted the request. No details on the sizes of the bets are available. But if the regulator wins in court, Waterhouse could be liable for fines of up to AU$121,000 (US$78.045).

This isn’t the first time Waterhouse has been in trouble with regulators. Last December, he paid a fine of AU$4,500 (US$2,902) for offering illegal inducements.

However, the biggest penalty came 40 years ago. In what would become called the Fine Cotton Affair, Waterhouse received a 14-year ban after an investigation determined that he placed bets on a horse race that he knew was rigged.

The ban covered almost all tracks around the world. However, following an appeal, the ban became a suspension, and he returned to the tracks and the sports betting space in 2001.

Self-Exclusion Doesn’t Mean Exclusion

The idea of self-exclusion should be straightforward and self-explanatory. However, some operators feel the rules don’t apply to them.

This is the case of “Mark,” a recovering gambler in Australia. He has hit out at “predatory” online betting operators for sending him promotional materials, even though he added his name to a self-exclusion register.

Mark recently participated in an interview with a local radio station, ABC Radio Hobart, in Tasmania. He explained that he lost AU$100,000 (US$64,440) to gambling over several years before he called it quits. Now, despite multiple attempts, he still receives promotional emails and text messages from operators.

The self-exclusion register is available to all operators in Australia. Per their license agreements, they must verify that names on the list do not create betting or gambling accounts. They also have to ensure they are not on any marketing distribution lists.

At least one operator, besides Waterhouse, is ignoring the rules. Mark received a promotional email from BetNation, an online sportsbook with whom he never did business, to bet on the Melbourne Cup.

The sports betting operator has to know what’s coming. BetNation holds a license in Australia’s Northern Territory, and the Northern Territory Racing Commission has launched an investigation. It will almost certainly deliver a fine.

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