Gambling Commission toughens up on consumer protection

Gambling Commission toughens up on consumer protection

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 Posted by Luke Massey
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The new rules will be imposed by the regulator from 31 October

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has introduced fresh changes to its Licensing Codes and Conditions of Practice (LCCP) which will place increased pressure on operators to stay within the lines set by the regulator or face much tougher consequences.

The new rules, which come into force from 31 October 2018, are designed to reinforce existing measures around advertising and consumer law.

In a statement issued by the UKGC, it said that the new requirements, which follow an open consultation, provide stronger protection for consumers and ensure they are treated fairly by gambling businesses.

In essence, it will be easier for the regulator to take action, including imposing fines against gambling businesses that break the advertising rules (such as advertising that appeals particularly to children or glamorises gambling), and firms will face action for advertising failings by third party affiliates.

Furthermore, it will be quicker and easier to take action for breaches of consumer law (such as unfair and misleading practices or unreasonable restrictions on withdrawals).

Gambling providers will also be expected to provide better complaints processes, including the implementation of an eight week deadline for complaints to be resolved. The Commission added that action will also be taken against gambling firms that send ‘spam’ marketing emails or texts.

Neil McArthur, Gambling Commission chief executive, said: “Protecting the interests of consumers is a priority for us and needs to be a priority for gambling operators.

"These changes will protect consumers from irresponsible advertising and misleading promotions, ensure that they can withdraw their money more easily, and will mean that firms have to deal with complaints more swiftly.”

In the main document outlining the LCCP changes, the Commission noted: “We have considered all the responses to our consultation on changes to the Licence conditions and codes of practice.

"We have taken the decision to strengthen requirements on licensees in key areas in order to ensure gambling is fair and open for consumers. The changes will clarify the outcomes licensees must deliver for consumers, and provide a firmer basis for us to tackle those licensees who fail to deliver them.”

Totally Gaming says: The UKGC’s move to toughen up its stance and introduce the above changes to its LCCP is hardly a surprise. Gambling advertising has become a ubiquitous feature of everyday life in the UK which, while a boon for providers, leaves the industry wide open to litigation from consumers who feel they may have been dealt a rotten hand. These are the kind of legislative boxes that need to be ticked without complaint.

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