Industry adjudication body welcomes CMA review

Industry adjudication body welcomes CMA review

Monday, October 31, 2016 Posted by Andy McCarron
Richard Hayler thinks that terms & conditions would benefit from review

Richard Hayler, managing director at IBAS – the Independent Betting Adjudication Service, has welcomed the investigation into the gambling industry’s terms and conditions by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) as the Gambling Commission’s focus on the consumer intensifies.

IBAS settles disputes between operators and customers, but does so by referring to the operator’s terms and conditions, and as such the body is extremely familiar with how they work, flaws and all.

Hayler told TotallyGaming.com that given the number of times that the Gambling Commission has expressed concerns about fairness of terms in the past 12 months, the CMA’s announcement didn’t come as a great surprise: “Ever since I joined IBAS in 2011 there has been a small number of cases that we haven’t felt confident adjudicating on because they fall into a grey area of potential unfairness, but where the Gambling Commission’s LCCP can be interpreted as supporting the operator’s position.

“It is encouraging to see the Commission embracing the challenge of tackling potential unfairness. I don’t believe that unfairness in gambling is anywhere near as substantial a problem as some people would appear to believe.

“However, IBAS has long been adjudicating against operators who have acted in a manner that is clearly unfair, and there remain pockets of frustrating problems which hopefully will be highlighted and addressed as part of the CMA’s work.”

In the past couple of years, IBAS has also taken into account the CMA’s perspective when it comes to making adjudications on cases. Hayler added: “Since the introduction of the 2015 Consumer Rights Act, we have encouraged our adjudication panel members to consider the CMA’s public advice on potentially unfair or misleading contractual terms in their routine decision making process, so hopefully we have a reasonable feel for how they will look to address the issues in gambling that they have flagged up.”

Totally Gaming says: The industry’s terms and conditions for taking wagers have long needed to be reviewed by a regulator for fairness as they have evolved considerable over the last 20 years without any real intervention. The fact that IBAS, which works with operator T&Cs every day of the year, is embracing the review should indicate there are important changes that need to be made.

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