CMA Forces Gambling Firms to Amend ‘Unfair’ Promotions
Ladbrokes, William Hill and PT Entertainment have been advised by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that their promotions that prevent players from cashing out when they want are in breach of regulations.
The necessary changes will mostly affect promotions for online roulette and poker where players are required to play multiple times before being able to withdraw their own money. The CMA stated that “gambling firms must now stop unfair online promotions that trap players’ money”.
The CMA worked with the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) on its investigation into whether gambling firms are breaking consumer protection law, and the UKGC warned that operators across the whole gambling sector must abide by the same rules and “promptly adopt similar changes”.
Gambling firms must also ensure that any restrictions on gameplay are clearly outlined, with vague terms and conditions set to be punished by the UKGC. Operators must also not make players take part in publicity to collect their winnings.
UKGC executive director, Sarah Gardner, stated: “Gambling firms must treat their customers fairly and not attach unreasonable terms and conditions to their promotions and offers.”
The Remote Gambling Association’s director of business, Brian Wright, was forthright in acknowledging the need for the changes. There are clearly lessons to be learned for some companies and we will work with the Gambling Commission and others to raise standards wherever necessary. We have already held productive discussions with the CMA and the Commission to consider how best to achieve that. – Brian Wright, Director of Business, Remote Gambling Association
A statement from William Hill reads, “As one of the largest online betting and gaming brands in the UK, William Hill has worked with the CMA to ensure that its concerns have been fully met. “We welcome the standards and principles that the CMA has outlined and we look forward to their adoption across the industry.”
Ladbrokes Coral claimed the new rules would help increase transparency and admitted that “things had unintentionally gone too far”.
The company said in a statement: “It is never comfortable being in the spotlight on these sorts of issues but we are pleased that a way forward has now been identified and are committed to ensuring we meet the standards set.”
The CMA released a list of guidelines for operators to ensure their terms and conditions do not breach consumer protection law. It also published advice for punters on what to look out for in the terms and conditions of promotions.