UKGC urges operators to review ‘unfair’ terms and conditions

24 November 2017

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has urged operators to review their terms and conditions to ensure consumers are treated fairly.

The call comes in the wake of a joint initiative between the UKGC and the UK’s Competition and Market Authority (CMA), where the two organisations looked into unfair terms and conditions by online gaming businesses.

The CMA found operators could be breaking consumer protection law, through terms and conditions of bonus promotions that are not clear.

In addition, some operators may have restricted customer rights and ability to access their own money and winnings.

Other concerns highlighted by the CMA include consumers being unable to clearly distinguish between play with the bonus balance and the deposit balance, as well as promotion-specific play restrictions not being set out clearly.

The CMA also warned that significant conditions relating to promotions are not being provided to consumers in a “clear, timely, transparent, non-misleading and prominent manner”, while some operators are not honouring free bets.

In addition, the CMA said some terms are assuming consumers have consented to the use of personal information for promotional purposes for the benefit of the operator without proper consent.

Sarah Gardner, executive director of the UKGC, said: “It is of paramount importance that consumers are empowered to make informed choices about their gambling and that the information available about their rights is correct and clear to them.

“The CMA’s findings have indicated that currently there is an imbalance between gambling firms and consumers – too often weighted in the favour of the operator.

“The CMA has set out its concerns to the gambling industry – this sets out clearly the changes which online gambling operators need to make to ensure promotions and practices are compliant with consumer protection law.

“We have been making it clear to the industry that they need to get their house in order on this; the CMA has now set out clearly its concerns so there is no excuse for operators not to act urgently in the interests of consumers.

“We plan to step up action in the New Year to ensure that consumers are being treated fairly.”

Related article: UKGC calls on operators to up consumer protection efforts