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Online gambling firms urged to raise standards on terms and conditions for bonus promotions

Out-Law News | 02 Feb 2018 | 12:00 pm | 1 min. read

Standards committed to by three gambling operators on the terms and conditions applied to "bonus promotions" set a benchmark that the rest of industry must also meet, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Gambling Commission have said.

The regulators urged all online gambling companies operating in Britain to review the way they run promotions in light of the undertakings made by Ladbrokes, William Hill and PT Entertainment, the company behind the titanbet.co.uk and winner.co.uk websites.

The three operators committed to updating their terms and conditions around the offer of "bonus funds" to gamblers who put their own money into playing games on their websites, the CMA said. The CMA had raised issue with the number of times gamblers sometimes had to play before they could withdraw their own money.

"The changes mean: players won’t be required to play multiple times before they can withdraw their own money; gambling firms must ensure that any restrictions on gameplay are made clear to players, and cannot rely on vague terms to confiscate players’ money; gambling firms must not oblige players to take part in publicity," the CMA said.

The three operators have until 28 February to make the majority of changes committed to in their undertakings to the CMA, although they have until the end of July this year to implement measures to prompt consumers appropriately when they are "playing with restricted funds", the Gambling Commission said.

The regulator said the measures committed to by the three operators "sets a standard of how the terms and conditions outlined by operators must be fair to their customers".

Sarah Gardner, Gambling Commission executive director said, "We support the CMA’s findings and expect all online gambling businesses to take immediate action to review their practices in line with these findings, in the same deadlines outlined. If firms cannot comply, they must remove any promotions until they can."

George Lusty, CMA project director, said: "Gambling always carries a risk, but players should never face unfair restrictions that prevent them from getting at their money. We welcome the commitment from these leading firms to address the problems our investigation uncovered, by making important changes to their terms and conditions. We now expect others to follow, and look forward to the Gambling Commission’s continued work to make sure all operators in this sector play fair with their customers’ money."