BUSINESS

UK watchdog program ends and celebrates ‘significant’ successes

TAGs: competition and markets authority, UK Gambling Commission, United Kingdom

UK watchdog program ends and celebrates ‘significant’ successesThe UK’s Gambling Commission (UKGC) and Competition Markets Authority (CMA) have wrapped up a joint program to improve the online gambling industry, and they feel they did a lot of good things, with a few threads left lingering. They addressed the industry in a joint letter published April 29.

In the announcement, they celebrated “significant changes” taken on by six firms: Ladbrokes, William Hill, PT Entertainment, BGO, Jumpman Gaming and Progress Play. They wrote: “Each of these firms committed not to continue or repeat certain practices which the CMA considered were unfair. But the impact of this work has been felt across the entire sector.”

They imply quite strongly that the sector had lost consumer faith, and portray themselves as the heroes who came to save it. Strangely, although the program is now coming to an end, the regulators note that there’s still a lot of work to be done. They wrote:

“You need to audit all your terms and conditions, examine your business systems and practices, embed compliance and, importantly, continually review these to ensure that you maintain high standards of consumer protection in the future.”

In addition, they suggest each operator should lead by example, treat customers fairly, construct straight forward promotions, and issue winnings without unnecessary delay.

Perhaps as part of that push, GVC Holdings, the group that runs Ladbrokes, recently called for a stricter ban on gambling ads, and, in doing so, propped themselves up as being a moral leader of the industry.

The program had noticeable results during its run. In August 2018, Jumpman Gaming and Progress Play agreed to simplify their withdrawal processes, and end the practice of confiscating funds from dormant accounts. They also announced in February 2018 that Ladbrokes, William Hill, and Playtech sites agreed to make their promotions more accessible and user friendly.

This isn’t strictly the end of the CMA and UKGC partnership though. The letter notes the two groups will continue to collaborate on compliance matters and analyze unfair practices in the industry.

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