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UK Gambling Commission Publishes Fairness Rule Changes for Operators
- August 6, 2018 By Oliver Young -
UK gambling operators will have to update their operating policies as new rules are coming into force from 31st of October 2018. Namely, last week, the UK Gambling Commission published changes as a consultation response; these changes are related to the conditions and codes of practice linked to the fair and open licensing objective.
Moreover, the always dedicated UKGC also pointed out that gambling businesses breaking the updated rules will face much tougher action than before. This is quite interesting knowing that the Commission hasn’t built a name for itself as a forgiving authority; everyone remembers the massive £2 million fine issued only two months ago to 32Red for failing to protect a customer.
According to the authority, the new rules provide UK consumers a better protection as well as guarantee they are treated fairly by operators. Some crucial changes include simplifying the process of taking actions, being stricter towards advertising failings and ensuring operators have improved complaints processes.
Eight Week Deadline for Resolving Complaints
What would certainly make a change to consumers that plan on making a complaint; namely, the complaint resolving process has been limited to eight weeks. The document published by the UKGC features an entire complaint process timescale that shows consumers what to expect every step along the way.
For example, the operator has to acknowledge the receipt within 24 hours after its has been sent. Afterwards, they have to investigate the matter and provide their decision to the consumer. In case the customer is not satisfied with the decision, there should be an internal escalation process. Finally, if the customer is not satisfied again, the operator must issue a final letter confirming their decision and ADR details.
In regard to marketing and advertising, the changes are supposed to ensure that UK gambling operators adhere to UK advertising codes. Additionally, they should guarantee all rules regarding misleading advertising are clear as well as that consumers never receive spam e-mails or SMSs. Finally, from now on licensees would be responsible for the actions of third parties, including their marketing affiliates.
When it comes to unfair terms and practices, the changes focus on consumer notice, changes to customer contracts and unfair commercial practices.
Finally, licensees would also focus on managing complaints in a “fair, open, timely, transparent and effective” way. Thus, the UKGC provides them with guidance on defining complaints and disputes, time limits, reporting requirements and complaint handling procedures.
“Protecting the Interests of Consumers is a Priority”
Commenting on the changes, the Chief of the UKGC, Neil McArthur highlighted that predicting the interests of consumers was a top priority to the authority. Moreover, he pointed out that this should be a priority to UK gambling operators as well.
McArthur expressed certainty that the latest changes would protect customers from “irresponsible advertising and misleading promotions” as well as ensure that consumers withdraw their funds more easily.
All in all, this is just another step the UK gambling authority is taking towards providing a safe and fair gambling atmosphere for consumers. It remains to be seen whether operators would update their policies or wait until one of them is slapped with a huge fine.