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UK Gambling Commission Launches Investigation into Withdrawal Restrictions
- March 7, 2018 By Oliver Young -
Busier than ever, the UK Gambling Commission seems determined to create a safe and fair gambling environment for UK consumers. Latest action towards that goal, after issuing a £6.2 million fine to William Hill, is the investigation regarding restrictions placed on players cashing out funds from their online gambling accounts.
According to the authorities, the investigation should conclude whether online gambling operators in the UK make it extremely difficult for consumers to withdraw their money. This probe has been actually launched by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the body stated that the action is against “an unspecified number” of gambling operators that hold the UK gambling license.
As the announcement on the UK Gambling Commission’s website puts it, the investigation focuses on whether there are “practices that may place unfair obstacles in the way of people withdrawing their money” regardless whether these funds are part of a casino promotion or not.
Several Points Cause Particular Concern
Regarding this issue, there are several points that cause particular concern, according to the CMA. First, the CMA believes that the daily, weekly and monthly withdrawal limits set by operators appear to be unreasonably low. Next, the authority focuses on potentially arbitrary short deadlines regarding time consumers have to provide identity verification documents as a condition to be able to cash out; in some cases, if these deadlines are missed, operators refuse to allow withdrawals. Finally, the last point of interest is related to “dormancy” terms and conditions, which make it possible for gambling companies to confiscate funds due to inactivity.
As the UK Gambling Commission published the info about the investigation, they also provided a statement by Ian Angus, the Programme Director at the regulator. Angus said that the Commission was supportive of the investigation as well as that gambling companies shouldn’t place unreasonable restrictions on “when and how” users can cash out their money. He also added that during the course of the investigation the Commission expected UK gambling operators to take a close look at their terms and consider if those are fair on consumers.
Affiliate Shortcomings Investigated Too
In addition to the CMA’s investigation regarding funds withdrawals, UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has announced a probe related to affiliate shortcomings as well. According to the statement by the authority, there have been significant issues with affiliate marketing, for which 221 websites out of 902 were flagged for further action.
ICO revealed that the key findings of the investigation show that affiliate sector was lacking appropriate unsolicited communication guidelines. Moreover, it often failed to obtain consent of consumers and offered misleading advertising. Another serious problem was the short lifespan of affiliates, alongside their hidden physical location, which made enforcement a true challenge.
This investigation included nine agencies from five different countries and focused on affiliate marketing in general. Nevertheless, ICO in the past has demanded gambling affiliates to stop spamming consumers; this resulted in UK gambling and advertising regulating bodies to increase their supervision of third party marketing.