The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issued the warning to Tabcorp Holdings Ltd after receiving a complaint about the activity that took place on January 3, 2021.
Under Australia’s Interactive Gambling Act 2001, online betting on a sporting event after it has started is prohibited.
In a statement to 9news.com.au, Tabcorp said the illegal bets were taken because of a technical error that failed to realise the basketball game had already started.
“An incorrect match start time supplied by a data provider for a US college basketball game on January 3, and a technical error, resulted in online betting on the event closing during the event. The odds remained pre-live as the market wasn’t traded like an in-play event,” a Tabcorp spokesperson said.
“In total, 37 bets on the pre-game markets were taken on the game after it had started and before this inadvertent error was identified and betting shut down.
“Tabcorp regrets that this occurred and has rectified the technical error.”
Despite the bets being prohibited, Tabcorp said it voided all losing bets and paid out on winning bets to minimise the impact on customers.
ACMA Member Fiona Cameron said in-play betting is prohibited because of the high risk it poses to vulnerable Australians.
“We know that in-play betting, such as bets on the next point in a tennis match or the next ball in cricket, can pose a very high risk to problem gamblers,” Ms Cameron said.
“These rules have been in place for many years and Tabcorp has had more than enough time to put systems in place to ensure that in-play betting is not offered on local or international sports.”
Ms Cameron said it was “inappropriate” for Tabcorp to pay out winning bets placed on the game given that they shouldn’t have been accepted at all.
“The ACMA considered that the paying out of winning bets by Tabcorp was inappropriate and that all illegal bets should have been voided so that neither operators or punters benefit from prohibited activity,” she said.
“The industry is now on notice that it must have robust systems in place to prevent in-play bets and that the ACMA will investigate evidence of non-compliance with these important consumer safeguards.
“If we find breaches of the rules caused by genuine mistakes, in any enforcement response we will take into account whether an operator has voided rather than paid out illegal winning bets.”