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UK CMA Threatens Gambling Operators with Legal Action
- June 26, 2017 By Oliver Young -
The UK is one of the countries with a very liberal approach towards gambling and betting. In the UK both online and offline gambling and betting are legal and available. But the market is also regulated and the operators that wish to offer betting and gambling services to UK citizens have to adhere to the strictest standards.
The UK Gambling Commission is the organisation in charge of issuing licences and monitoring the work of licence holders. The Commission has the right to fine operators for their misconducts and for heavier offences it may even revoke their licences. The Gambling Commission cooperates with state bodies, commissions and other organisations in order to carry out its tasks more effectively.
CMA Claims Operators Have Breached Consumer Protection Law
This is a great time for the UK gambling industry, as the revenues are sky-high. The UKGC has taken a very proactive approach in the last couple of years. Not only does the UKGC publish the industry statistics on a regular basis, but it also publishes guidelines and develops strategies to deal with new phenomena. Last year, the Commission decided to pay more attention to eSports betting, following the rise in popularity.
The UKGC cooperates with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and now multiple operators face legal action prompted by the findings of the CMA. The latest report suggests that certain operators didn’t treat their customers fairly, and it is also implied that they might have breached consumer protection regulations.
It appears that customers were being misled on the signup promotions and bonuses and that some operators were keeping their customers’ funds when they didn’t have the right to do so. The CMA was very cautious and it didn’t name any operators, but it has stated that it will be taking action against numerous companies.
The CMA’s chief that deals with customer protection issues, Nisha Arora said that even though gambling is always risky, the companies are required to operate fairly and honestly and that promotion terms and conditions have to be clear and that people should know what they’re signing up for.
More than 800 Customers Have Complained
Many customers have complained that they were enticed by the lucrative bonus offers, only to realise that the odds are stacked against them and that there are a lot of obstacles which prevent them from withdrawing their money.
The findings are a result of an investigation that lasted eight months, and the CMA had the full cooperation of the UKGC during the period. More than 800 customer complaints have been filed during the investigation period and the CMA has put a number of online gambling websites under scrutiny.
The UKGC boss Sarah Harrison said that companies that will be proven to have broken the law might see their licences suspended and even revoked. She added that the companies need to be aware that consumer law also applies to them and that if they don’t work in accordance with the customer protection regulations they will face consequences.
The CMA found that many operators were forcing customers to play their bonuses through hundreds of times, denying them the chance of quitting while they still have a profit. The operators now have a chance to respond and explain their actions.