Lawyers for legendary bookmaker Robbie Waterhouse say chat logs reveal a punter demanded bonus bets as part of a threat to take his business elsewhere, as he battles allegations he offered the customer inducements to keep betting after they asked to close their account.
Mr Waterhouse, 69, appeared at Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday where he is fighting a string of charges relating to alleged breaches of the Betting and Racing Act.
He has pleaded not guilty to six counts of accepting new bets after request to close betting account and five counts of offering inducements to a person not to close betting account.
The state’s regulator, Liquor & Gaming NSW, brought the charges against Mr Waterhouse, the husband of legendary trainer Gai Waterhouse, relating to interactions with a client of his bookmaking website RobWaterhouse.com in May last year.
The court heard that on May 14 last year, one of his website’s customers requested to permanently close his account.
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The regulator has alleged that on six occasions, after the client asked his account be shut down, Mr Waterhouse accepted new bets from the customer.
He is further alleged to have on five occasions offered inducements, in the form of matched deposits and bonus bets, after the client asked that his account be permanently closed.
Adam McGrath, the solicitor for Liquor and Gaming NSW, told the court that the client asked for his account to be permanently closed.
“That never occurred,” Mr McGrath said.
Mr McGrath told the court that the client was offered matched deposits, worth up to $1000, or a $100 bonus bet by a RobWaterhouse.com representative.
He told the court the customer’s account was deactivated, but not permanently closed.
Defence solicitor Rob Ranken read the court chat logs between the client and a customer service representative.
In one of them, the man threatened to close his account and go to a competitor after his request for a no-deposit bonus bet was denied.
The betting agency had previously offered to the man a matched deposit of up to $1000.
In court on Tuesday, Mr Ranken questioned the Liquor & Gaming NSW investigator in charge of the investigation, Jamie Ryan, about the contents of the chat log.
The court heard that when the customer was told that no “goodwill offer” was available, the man threatened to permanently close his account unless he was given a no-match bonus bet.
When the customer service representative told the man his account was closed, he was reminded that should he wish to re-open it, they were willing to match any deposit up to $1000.
And Mr Ranken questioned whether that offer had been made prior to the customer’s request to close the account.
If convicted Mr Waterhouse faces a fine of up to $121,000.
The matter will return to court next year for judgment.
https://thewest.com.au/news/punters-ultimatum-to-waterhouse-as-legendary-bookmaker-denies-offering-inducements-c-12551580 Punter’s ultimatum to Waterhouse as legendary bookmaker denies offering inducements