CMA Warns Operators About Withdrawal Conditions

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has begun probing online gambling operators over “unfair obstacles” that make it difficult for customers to withdraw account funds.

The watchdog has written to several companies accounting enforcement action regarding the terms and conditions of making a withdrawal from online gambling accounts. The move has been supported by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). The total number and identities of the targeted operators are unknown, but all of the operators receiving the warning are UK-licensed.

The CMA is concerned about common practices that include daily, weekly, or monthly withdrawal limits that are deemed unreasonably low, and arbitrary deadlines for customers to verify their identity. In some cases, the CMA found that failure to meet the verification deadline resulted in the forfeiture of funds.

Another point of contention is dormancy fees, which allow operators to confiscate funds or impose excessive charges due to account inactivity. Ian Angus, programme director at the UKGC, said that gambling firms should not be placing unreasonable restrictions on when and how consumers can withdraw money from their online gambling accounts.

While the CMA continues its inquiry, we expect all online operators to look closely at the terms and practices they have in place and consider if they are fair on their customers. Ian Angus, Programme Director, UK Gambling Commission

Both the CMA and the UKGC have been investigating online gambling operators bonus terms and general depositing and withdrawing procedures since October 2016. At the beginning of February 2018, the CMA warned that strict new rules regarding bonus practices were coming. The regulatory bodies feel that the gambling industry has long been operating in breach of consumer protection law.

In November 2017, following pressure from the CMA, William Hill, Ladbrokes, TitanBet and Winner formerly committed to change the way they offer bonus promotions and allow players to release funds. The operators agreed to three main conditions. Firstly, that playthrough requirements will not be applied to players’ own money. Secondly, that any gameplay restrictions must be made completely clear to customers. Thirdly, that operators cannot force customers to take part in any publicity.

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