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Complaints Against UK Operators up Almost 5,000% in 5 Years, the UK Gambling Commission Reports
- August 12, 2019 By Oliver Young -
The UK Gambling Commission has presented a new approach to determining gambling-related harms in July last year, intending to try to understand these issues and deal with them better.
Not long after, the regulator updated its Alternative Dispute Resolution guidelines, making it easier for both players and operators to deal with unresolved issues through ADR providers.
And all of that was implemented with the aim of the Commission to have a better insight into how operators treat their customers and whether players are treated with respect as they should be.
This led to a significant increase in players’ complaints. In 2018, there were record 8,266 complaints filed against UK operators, which is 5,000% more than the 169 complaints in 2013.
The Increase in Complaints
The UK Gambling Commission reported that there were 8,266 complaints last year, with problem gamblers stating that operators continue to entice them to bet, even after they have requested to be removed from the mailing lists.
This is a staggering increase in the number of complaints, compared to the 169 complaints registered just five years ago. The UK Gambling Commission’s Chief Executive Neil McArthur said that the regulator was pushing the industry to get to know its customers, so a part of the situation with the increase in complaints was actually a good sign because it was suggesting that players were demanding more of operators. He added that he would encourage them to continue to do so.
One problem gambler said that she lost £125,000 playing at LeoVegas and Casumo, who instead of noticing the obvious signs of her addiction kept offering her bonuses to continue wagering. She said that online casinos have advanced algorithms that notice when player was spending a lot of money, and instead of using those algorithms to prevent problem gambling, they were using them to make that player a VIP, so they were actually encouraging such players to continue playing, facilitating the process of developing bad gambling habits.
The UK Gambling Commission’s Enforcement Measures
The regulator is continuously investigating cases where problem gamblers complain about the operators not noticing or ignoring their signs and encouraging them to continue gambling. Currently, there’s an open investigation on LeoVegas, after a player complained the operator accepted £20,000 stolen money bet and then bombarded him with mails, pushing him to continue wagering.
Over a similar issue, the UK Gambling Commission imposed a £5.9 million penalty on Ladbrokes Coral for failing to protect problem gamblers who lost a lot of money gambling.
But still, problem gamblers are losing almost twice as much compared to a decade ago. Last year, the year that also marked the most complaints, players lost whopping £14.5 billion. And, the biggest rise in losses has been seen in online gambling, where new releases and products have attracted new players. This all happened after 2007 when the government relaxed gambling and advertising restrictions. Judging by these shocking reports, and the calls from charities, politicians and campaigners for a mandatory tax, it looks like the industry will soon receive some tougher restrictions.