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AUSSIE DECEPTIVE ADVERTISING CONDEMNED BY MINISTER

Gaming and Racing minister cites marketing agency website, alerts online gambling companies

In New South Wales, Australia, a furore has broken out over deceptive advertising involving a well known Internet marketing agency, with Gaming and Racing minister Kevin Greene stepping in to ask legitimate online gambling websites to end any financial association with the offending site.

The issue attracted the attention of the Aussie mainstream media following the intervention of the minister and the sinister nature of the alleged deception, which involved using fake websites that falsely advertised problem gambling assistance in order to misdirect users to the agency's site promoting gambling.

Minister Greene said that the false advertising was "disgusting" and designed to target people with personal gambling problems. He said that each Australian gambling website that appeared on the questionable marketing page was in violation of advertising rules under the Northern Territorys Responsible Gambling Code. He did not say what, if any, sanctions awaited those found responsible for the deception.

"Not only do these websites seem to be places offering assistance to those with gambling problems, they immediately redirected people to a website promoting gambling services," the minister said. "This is an appalling tactic that appears to be intentionally designed to prey on vulnerable people in our society looking for help."

The minister added that he had contacted the advertising companies involved and urged them have themselves removed from the agency website "...which they may not even be aware links to their own websites."

It is clear the quickest thing that these gambling companies can do is voluntarily remove themselves from [this] appalling site," he said.

One of the suspect sites was reportedly Gamblers Anonymous.com.au, which automatically forwarded traffic to the Bookmaker.com.au affiliate site, where advertisements for some of Australias largest sports betting websites, such as Sportsbet.com.au, Centrebet.com.au and Sportingbet.com.au were displayed.

Spokesmen for the online gambling sites advertising on the agency's site immediately condemned the misleading and irresponsible marketing practice, and initial reports indicated they had discontinued relationships with the agency.

Gamblersanonymous.com.au is now offline following the widespread media coverage of the story. It is allegedly owned by Bookmaker.com.au, an agency that performs marketing services for online gambling firms.

Bookmaker.com.au claims that visitors to gamblersanonymous.com.au were redirected in error, during a time when programmers were building the gamblersanonymous website. The agency reportedly has no direct relationship with the real and reputable Gamblers Anonymous.org.au body.

Australian problem gambling activist, Reverend Tim Costello, rejected the honest mistake explanation presented by the marketing agency, calling the deception: one of the most socially irresponsible, sinister things Ive heard of.

Independent Australian Senator, Nick Xenophon, called for those that abused Australian domain names to be severely penalised, calling the people that orchestrated the fraudulent site, corporate cannibals.
 

Casinomeister

Forum Cheermeister
Staff member
Moved this to the Industry section since this is a major issue concerning online gambling - ethics in advertising.
 

lots0

Banned User - troll posts - flaming
Bookmaker.com.au claims that visitors to gamblersanonymous.com.au were redirected in error
No one makes mistakes like this... Every webmaster I know checks their redirects after they implement them.

Australian problem gambling activist, Reverend Tim Costello, rejected the honest mistake explanation presented by the marketing agency, calling the deception: one of the most socially irresponsible, sinister things Ive heard of.
IMO, this guy is right... "Sinister", personally I would add "Evil" to that.
 

Consultant

Dormant account
My heart goes out to the families who suffered from this website's unethical advertising.

Based on the article this looks like a classic example of one guy ruining it for everybody else. Try defending freedom of speech and trade in gambling in Australia right now... it's just to easy for politicians to abuse this one for their own benefit. Freedom gets lost one public outcry at a time.

I did a bit of research. Gamblersanonymous.com.au was a static page back in november 2000 (
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), and started forwarding to gamble.com.au in or before May 2001 (
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). This article mentions bookmaker.com.au as the referred site, so I suppose this was changed/mixed over time.

I tried to find the questionnable page on bookmaker.com.au itself. The site is currently unavailable, and the most recent archive (
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) form Feb 14 2008 is this:
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.

I don't see any text about stopping with gambling on that URL. My best guess is that those pages were recently added. Anyway, I did this research to find out which casino's voluntarily promoted on websites with such unethical advertising. I am glad to see the unethical page was probably recently added, so probably (hopefully) no casino AM knowingly accepted this advertising method. And as far as as I know there was no way for them (or anybody) to know about the referred visitors form GA.com.au.

All this doesn't make it less painful for those involved of course. But it does give hope that, from an affiliate perspective, less of our trading partners were involved than you might think from reading the article.
 

NicolasJohnson

Dormant account
My heart goes out to the families who suffered from this website's unethical advertising.

Based on the article this looks like a classic example of one guy ruining it for everybody else. Try defending freedom of speech and trade in gambling in Australia right now... it's just to easy for politicians to abuse this one for their own benefit. Freedom gets lost one public outcry at a time.

I did a bit of research. Gamblersanonymous.com.au was a static page back in november 2000 (
You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.
), and started forwarding to gamble.com.au in or before May 2001 (
You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.
). This article mentions bookmaker.com.au as the referred site, so I suppose this was changed/mixed over time.

I tried to find the questionnable page on bookmaker.com.au itself. The site is currently unavailable, and the most recent archive (
You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.
) form Feb 14 2008 is this:
You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.
.

I don't see any text about stopping with gambling on that URL. My best guess is that those pages were recently added. Anyway, I did this research to find out which casino's voluntarily promoted on websites with such unethical advertising. I am glad to see the unethical page was probably recently added, so probably (hopefully) no casino AM knowingly accepted this advertising method. And as far as as I know there was no way for them (or anybody) to know about the referred visitors form GA.com.au.

All this doesn't make it less painful for those involved of course. But it does give hope that, from an affiliate perspective, less of our trading partners were involved than you might think from reading the article.
I just wanted to step in and say we would never be associated with such horror and my sympathy goes out to those poor souls looking for assistance only to find temptation.

As a gambling operator interested in long term market positioning, we would never knowingly allow our affiliate partners to conduct such vile activities. In fact, this is why I review every affiliate sign up before approving or denying the person. Having said that, it would be impossible for us to detect and review every source of traffic, so I'm sure that for most of the operators involved this affiliate simply fell through the quality assurance cracks.

I'm happy their sleaze was put to an end... shame it had to give the industry yet another black eye in the processes. As you said consultant, freedom is lost one public outcry at a time.

Kind Regards,
Nicolas Johnson
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Manager
 

Consultant

Dormant account
I just wanted to step in and say we would never be associated with such horror and my sympathy goes out to those poor souls looking for assistance only to find temptation.

As a gambling operator interested in long term market positioning, we would never knowingly allow our affiliate partners to conduct such vile activities. In fact, this is why I review every affiliate sign up before approving or denying the person. Having said that, it would be impossible for us to detect and review every source of traffic, so I'm sure that for most of the operators involved this affiliate simply fell through the quality assurance cracks.

I'm happy their sleaze was put to an end... shame it had to give the industry yet another black eye in the processes. As you said consultant, freedom is lost one public outcry at a time.

Kind Regards,
Nicolas Johnson
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Manager
Looks like we share our opinion on these tactics and that we agree that it would be impossible for AMs to detect! :)
 
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