More than a quarter of Australians say they’ve been charged over gambling on sports, with some betting on games involving the NBA, NFL and MLB, according to a survey by sports betting firm bovadafest.
More than one-quarter of the respondents said they had received a charge for betting on any game involving the AFL, NRL or MLB.
The survey also found one-third of those surveyed had been charged with gambling over a gambling-related charge, and about a quarter had been asked to pay money to settle the matter.
In addition, more than half of respondents said their betting accounts had been frozen and some had been advised to change their passwords.
The research found most of those charged had not been involved in betting activities before, though some had taken advantage of the services available online.
About one-in-five Australians had not received a notice from the gambling authority of their accounts being frozen, while about a third had not heard of the suspension until after the inquiry was launched.
Bovada chief executive John Longworth said the figures highlighted the need for changes in Australian laws.
“These figures are shocking and tell us that despite the great strides we have made in recent years to clamp down on the use of online betting, there is still a significant proportion of Australians who continue to gamble on sports,” Mr Longworth told AAP.
“The key takeaway is that it is not only Australians who gamble in the wrong way, it is also the sports betting industry that needs to be better informed.”
He said the online gambling industry should be “aware” of how they are being regulated and made aware of the consequences of any gambling offences they may have committed.
Bovex, the company behind the sports book, told the ABC it had not seen the survey results but had not experienced any breaches of the law.
“We are aware of a number of breaches of law that we are investigating, including breach of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s anti-fraud code, which is the basis for the suspension,” a spokesman said.
The Sportsbet investigation, which surveyed 1,907 Australian adults between January and May, has been widely criticised for the way it was conducted.
The ABC’s Sports Breakfast has contacted the Australian Sports Anti-Gambling Authority (ASAGA), the gambling regulator.
A spokesman said it had been working with bovadoest to ensure that all customers had the correct account information.
“There is no legal obligation for bovadex to contact us to ensure customers have the correct information,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said the organisation would not be commenting on the matter until the investigation was complete.
Sportsbet is one of several companies offering sports betting services in Australia, with other firms offering sportsbooks in New Zealand and Canada.