GVC Holdings fined by the Gambling Commission
GVC Holdings has been hit with a fine from the UK Gambling Commission due to repeated failings from its bwin operated ElectraWorks Limited subsidiary.
GVC has been fined around £350,000 by the Gambling Commission relating to marketing infringements surrounding the advertising of free bet or bonus offers by ElectraWorks. On top of the penalty, the operator has also been formally warned by the Commission for not ensuring the person responsible for marketing holds a personal management licence.
ElectraWorks was found to have breached the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) code and Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) code back in 2016. A complaint against the operator, relating to an advert offering a free bonus on its website, was upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority in August that year.
Despite being informed to remove the advert, the Gambling Commission found another instance of the code being breached on the bwin website just weeks later, which ElectraWorks removed after being notified.
Further breaches were found in 2017 on three separate occasions across numerous subsidiary sites, in April, June and August. ElectraWorks was then granted notice that the Commission would review its licence in October 2017.
Speaking about the fine, Richard Watson, programme director of the Gambling Commission, said:
This fine should serve a warning to all gambling businesses that we will not hesitate to take action against those who mislead consumers with bonus offers or fail to ensure they are correctly licensed. – Richard Watson, programme director of the Gambling Commission.
The Commission pointed out in its publication of the decision notice that the operator complied with the investigation, recognised its failings and always took the required steps to remedy the issues.
Commission coming down hard on advertising breaches
This fine is the latest in a string of penalties issued to operators for not complying with advertising standards, often in relation to bonus or free bet offers. The sector as a whole has been told to improve in the area, with a joint investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Gambling Commission introducing new advertising rules and standards.
With the spotlight on advertising, many operators have taken drastic steps to protect themselves. Last week, Betway, in an attempt to reign in the advertising standards of affiliates, became the latest operator to make major changes to its affiliate programme by bringing it completely in-house.
That follows similar moves by William Hill, bet365 and many others, who have overhauled their affiliate programme. Some have taken things a step further, such as SkyBet, who chose to end their affiliate programme altogether.