UKGC & CMA end joint programme into remote sector
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) have wrapped up a joint programme into suspected breaches of consumer protection law in the remote gambling sector.
The programme was aimed at increasing fairness and transparency for consumers. Particular focus was placed on misleading terms and conditions relating to bonuses, as well as operators preventing customers from withdrawing their funds.
In a joint letter addressed to the sector announcing the programme’s closing, the two groups celebrated some serious progress whilst also admitting some loose ends were left untied.
Particularly, six large operators have committed not to repeat practices the CMA deemed unfair. The operators are Ladbrokes, William Hill, PT Entertainment, BGO, Jumpmann Gaming, and Progress Play.
The work discovered shortcomings from the sector in the area of consumer trust and confidence. Based on the findings of the programme, the UKGC launched new requirements, which all firms now have to comply with. Terms and practices should also have been amended accordingly. However, in their letter, the group said that operators need to go further, saying:
However, for you to comply fully with your consumer law and licensing responsibilities, you must go further than simply complying with the published undertakings. You need to audit all your terms and conditions, examine your business systems and practices, embed compliance and, importantly, continually review these to ensure that you maintain high standards of consumer protection in the future. To be compliant also requires critical scrutiny of the practices of those that you deal with, including affiliates and third-party suppliers of systems, software and call centres, as you are responsible for their actions in accordance with the Commission’s Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP). – Letter , UK Gambling Commission and the Competitions and Markets Authority
It appears operators are acting on the group’s call. GVC Holdings, owner of Ladbrokes Coral, last week called for a total ban on sports betting adverts and betting firms sponsoring sporting teams.
Signing off, the group noted that while the programme has come to an end, the CMA would continue its relationship with the Commission to help tackle unfair terms and practices in the industry.