licensed operators to follow and offer better protection to UK players.
The UK Gambling Commission recently updated guidelines on transparent and fair practices and terms for licensed operators of online gambling sites in the UK.
The Commission took this step after it found out that licensees are using potentially unfair terms that, in some cases, give operators the unfair advantage of deciding when and how to apply them.
A list of unfair terms at UK-licensed online casinos includes the following:
- Terms that give licensees the right to confiscate their players’ unused deposits
- Terms on the treatment of player funds when the licensees conclude that the player is guilty of fraudulent, irregular, or illegal play
- Promotional terms that enable licensees to void real money winnings if they find consumers violating rules
- Terms that allow licensees the unfair advantage to reduce potential winnings on open bets
- The UK Gambling Commission is also aware that licensees use terms and conditions that are vague and unclear, offer welcome bonuses with wagering requirements that encourage excessive gambling, and follow many other unfair practices.
A typical example includes online game promotions that have conditions stating a licensee can nullify real money winnings if a player unintentionally fails to follow the T&Cs.
New Guidelines for Licensees
The UK Gambling Commission’s revised guidelines make it mandatory for licensees to follow these steps:
- Review the terms and conditions of their online gambling sites to ensure that they comply with the UK’s consumer protection laws, the Commission’s revised guidelines, and the LCCP, which requires licensees to provide evidence that their terms & conditions are transparent and fair.
- Review bonus offers and promotional offers, especially those with wagering requirements. The LCCP requirement is that online gambling sites design their bonus offers, rewards, and other promotions responsibly. Although the LCCP permits gambling sites to attach terms and conditions to their promotional offers, it does not approve of wagering requirements that promote excessive gambling on the part of players.
Consumers who are not happy with the way online gambling sites resolve their issues can approach alternative dispute resolution (ADR) providers. The Commission expects ADR providers to quickly and fairly settle disputes between online gambling sites and their customers. It has a separate set of guidelines for ADR providers, which you can view on the UKGC website.
About the Gambling Commission
The UK Gambling Commission regulates most forms of gambling in the UK, including the National Lottery.
It grants licenses to businesses and individuals offering gambling services and gives them the advice and guidance they require. One of the Commission’s duties is to protect players and UK consumers by ensuring safe and fair gambling services.
The Commission functions as per the provisions of the Gambling Act of 2005 and the amendments made to it by the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act of 2014.
How the Gambling Commission Makes Gambling Safer
The Commission has implemented the following measures to make gambling safer in the UK.
It focuses increasingly on gambling businesses to ensure their priority for consumer safety and satisfaction. To ensure that gambling sites take good care of their customers, it has introduced new advertising rules and takes firm action against operators violating consumer laws.
Using credit cards to deposit money at online gambling sites is now against the law. Moreover, the Commission has introduced strict identity and age verification checks at online gambling sites to protect minors.
Operators have to partner with GamStop, the government’s online self-exclusion scheme. You can use GamStop to self-exclude from all UK-licensed online gambling sites.
UK-licensed operators have to use ADR providers who meet the Commission’s standards.
The Commission has implemented measures to help consumers limit the amount of gambling-related content they view online.
You can read the UKGC’s guides on controlling the gambling-related content one sees on the social networks Facebook and Twitter.