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Illegal bookmakers have always relied on “referral marketing”, but it’s now emerged that recruitment commissions cost Australian online betting agency Sportsbet as much as $AU4 million each year.

According to The Age, the online agency’s CEO Cormac Barry also conceded that new punters aren’t told about the commissions paid to get them betting – something which may be illegal under various laws covering secret commissions. Barry also said he isn’t familiar with such legislation.

The Gambling Reform committee was told by Senator Nick Xenophon – a high-profile campaigner against gambling – that the behaviour was “unconscionable”, and he would add an anti-commissions clause into legislation he has already introduced to control online gambling.

Barry told the committee that finders’ fees are common practice, and are paid either on a flat per-customer rate, or as a share of the punter’s losses as an “affiliate”.

The Herald Sun reports that the pernicious practice uses a sliding scale: the more the new punter loses, the better the introduction fee paid, making the commission structure look something like a pyramid scheme: cover your own losses by getting someone else to sling their money at Sportsbet. ®

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