Gambling Commission warns gambling businesses against failing to comply with consumer protection laws
A joint investigation by the Gambling Commission and Markets Authority have led to the order for gambling businesses to change the way in which bonus promotions are offered. This is because some of the terms in such promotions could be considered a breach of consumer protection law, be unfair and misleading.
Gambling firms are being told that they must cease from unfair online promotions that effectively trap a player's money. Three of the leading online operators Ladbrokes, William Hill, and PT Entertainment have already stated their intention to change their practices. Of particular interest was the practice of offering bonus funds when players put their own money in and the requirement that players could be made to play for longer before being allowed to withdraw.
The changes in practice that must now be adopted include:
- Players will no longer be required to play multiple times before being able to withdraw their own money
- Gambling firms must ensure transparency with regards to any restrictions on gameplay and can no longer hide behind unclear terms to latch on to player's money
- Gambling firms can no longer compel players to participate in publicity
The CMA has stated their intention to continue to enforce the online gambling sector with a particular emphasis on ensuring that the path for players to withdraw their funds is unobstructed regardless of whether or not it is part of a promotion or not. Whether this proves successful remains to be seen but it is clear that online promotions have become the target of greater scrutiny.