30/09/2015 3:02 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

Northern Territory Fishing Promotion Rewards Winners With Betting Funds

John Kuczala via Getty Images
Bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) depicted in a natural environment following a fishing lure

A Northern Territory fishing tourism promotion is offering online gambling accounts of up to $1000, much to the concern of problem gambling experts.

As part of the Million Dollar Fish promotion, announced Wednesday, the government has tagged 76 barramundi across fishing locations in the Top End.

Each tag has a code which links to 75 $10,000 cash prizes and one $1 million CrownBet prize tag.

There’s also an online component where people can play an online game with prizes of up to $1000 on a NT Government-owned website.

This online competition’s terms and conditions, however, state the cash prizes are “a cash deposit into a CrownBet Membership account”.

CrownBet is a new betting brand launched in March this year jointly owned by Crown Resorts and Bet Easy.

Gambling expert at Central Queensland University Matthew Rockloff told The Huffington Post Australia the competition was baffling.

“I wonder whether the government has read the fine print,” Rockloff said.

“There is an issue that the government is potentially introducing people to gambling that might not have otherwise.

“All the betting agency has got to do is have one of those people be a problem gambler and the company will make back a large proportion, if not all, of their outlying prize money.

“Statistics show problem gamblers spend a large amount of their money over several years on gambling before seeking help so I think people need to ask whether this betting company’s prize money is fair dinkum.”

Chief Minister and Tourism Minister Adam Giles was not available to speak to HuffPost Australia to address the competition’s link to online gambling but he said more than 30,000 people had already registered.

“I think Million Dollar Fish will be a huge hit and I wish everyone the best of luck,” he said in a statement.

Tourism NT claims it is independent of the Crownbet offer, even though the website is owned by the Government.

'There is no gambling associated with the Million Dollar Fish competition,' a spokesperson told HuffPost Australia.

'Winners of the online game are given the choice (with verification of ID) to have the prize from the game deposited into their own account or a CrownBet account (which can still be fully withdrawn from unconditionally).'

The terms state: 'The entrant will receive a cash deposit into a CrownBet Membership account, which can be unconditionally withdrawn by the entrant to the entrant’s elected bank account upon the entrant’s ID being verified by the Promoter.'

As well as CrownBet, the territory government has partnered with Boating Camping Fishing, XXXX Gold, AOT and Qantas for the promotion.

The competition will run from 1 October 2015 to 29 February 2016.