CMA announces results of online gambling probe
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the regulatory body responsible for competition and consumer enforcement in the UK, has released the report of the investigation that it started two years ago about the unfair practices in online gambling industry.
The main focus of the probe the options for players to withdraw their funds and CMA pressure has led to two more companies removing obstacles put in place to keep players money in the game, even when they are not interested in continuing to gamble.
Progress Play and Jumpman Gaming, two smaller UK online gambling operators, had set in place elaborate terms and conditions that would keep their players from withdrawing their funds if they had not logged in to their accounts within a certain amount of time or if they were too slow in proving their identity.
Unfair trade practices
In its guidance note, the CMA concluded that such practices were unfair in light of Part 2 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA) and under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Practices 2008 (CPRs) law.
At the beginning of the report explaining the investigation, the CMA outlined the key questions they were seeking answers for. Under the CRA, all contract terms must be fair and transparent, and the CMA was looking to see whether certain terms in online gambling contracts created “a significant imbalance, contrary to the requirement of good faith, to the detriment of the consumer.”
Under the CPRs the regulator was looking at possible “unfair commercial practices, in particular misleading acts or omissions” as well as “behaviour contrary to the requirements of professional diligence.”
Progress Play and Jumpman gaming now join a short list of other online operators including PT Entertainment Services, Ladbrokes and William Hill in adjusting their practices to fall into line with the CMA’s requirements.
Giants like William Hill, Ladbrokes and PT Entertainment had been involved in creating restrictions on players cashing out while using a casino bonus offer. While they were earning or using their bonus gamblers on these sites were prevented from cashing out or required to forfeit the proceeds they had earned off the bonus is they wanted their money. Such practices were deemed unfair trading practices by the CMA.
As a result, all of the firms have now adopted policies that reflect the flowing conditions:
“Promotional Play Restrictions and Wagering Requirements (if applicable) do not apply to any play by a consumer with their Deposit Balance except where ingame mechanisms automatically prevent a consumer from placing a wager that contravenes the Promotional Play Restrictions.”
In a nutshell, this is designed to ensure that a player may cash out even while the bonus is in play and that their request to withdraw funds from their own account will not void the bonus as operators are not prohibited from offering such terms and conditions.
The CMA pointed out that this method of sanctioning players who wish to withdrawal their own funds creates unacceptable and unfair pressure on players to continue to keep gambling even when they have decided they are no longer interested in doing so.
Sarah Gardner, Executive Director of the UK Gambling Commission stated, “We back the action taken by the CMA today. Gambling firms must treat their customers fairly and not attach unreasonable terms and conditions to their promotions and offers.
We expect all Gambling Commission licensed businesses to immediately review the promotions and sign up deals they offer customers and take whatever steps they need to take, to the same timescales agreed by the three operators, to ensure they comply.”
Georgia Bans 1.45 Million People from Gambling
A new decree approved last year has banned well over a million people from participating in gambling in Georgia. The law, which follows the introduction of new online casino restrictions, bans under 25s, public employees, the socially vulnerable and those blacklisted by courts from gambling.
Minister of finance Lasha Khutsishvili said 1.45 million citizens are now banned from gambling, including people who are self-excluding. The new law came into effect this month after being approved by prime minister Irakli Garibashvili last year.
Last month, Garibashvili approved another batch of restrictions to tighten the country’s gambling laws. One of the measures will be to ring-fence online casino licences so they can be held only by land-based casinos based in Georgia.
That would make Adjara Group, Crystalbet and Iveria the only operators that can hold online casino licences. However, in addition, the government plans to offer a licence for exclusive rights to operate online casino for a fee of €1.6m.
Last year, the government presented plans to introduce separate gaming licences for specific verticals so that operators would no longer be able to expand into different verticals with no need for an additional permit. The annual permit fees for each of the business types (online casino, slots and betting) were to be set at €35,580.
All gambling advertising on TV, websites and public places has also been banned, and gambling taxes have been raised. Another batch of measures that are expected to be imposed includes a ban on casinos on ships.
The government says the measures are designed to bring the country in line with the EU expectations as it seeks to enter the bloq, although there is no EU ban on gambling advertising or prohibiting certain people from participating.
Mindway AI Collaborates With the Hellenic Gaming Commission to Ensure Player Protection
The aim of the cooperation between Mindway AI and the Hellenic Gaming Commission is to enhance player protection in the Greek gambling industry. The two parties seek to elaborate on the risk assessment methodology applied to assess whether a player is about to develop problem gambling behavior.
Mindway AI has signed a memorandum of cooperation with the Hellenic Gaming Commission on issues related to responsible gambling, the protection of players and gambling addiction prevention.
“We are pleased that the Hellenic Gaming Commission has shown us the trust to collaborate with us utilizing our in-depth scientific expertise and potentially our award-winning player protection software built on a unique combination of neuroscience, AI, and human psychologists’ assessments,” the Chief Executive Officer for Mindway AI, Rasmus Kjaergaard, said.
Originally, Mindway AI’s player protection software was developed to be implemented by operators as an early detector of problematic gambling behavior but we have found that it might be used across an entire market as well.
“The idea of using our expertise and maybe our software across a full market gambling jurisdiction in Greece is exciting and innovative. Together with Hellenic Gambling Commission, we intend to co-create the needed adjustments to adapt to the extra requirements that may occur when this new approach can cover a whole market and not solely individual operators,” Kjaergaard said.
Within the framework of their collaboration, the two parties shall evaluate the use of AI software in combination with neuroscientific insights and expert assessments to identify at-risk gambling behavior. The Hellenic Gaming Commission will then seek to take initiatives and proper measures and proceed with interventions, both at the regulatory and supervisory-audit levels, to handle at-risk gambling behavior and minimize the harm related to gambling addiction.
CT Interactive’s 10 New Games and Hot Luck Jackpot Certified for the Czech Republic
CT Interactive continues to increase its market share in the Czech Republic. The company was granted with a certificate for a package of 10 more games and the Hot Luck Jackpot.
“We are very excited about our next step in the Czech market which we value very much. We see a lot of potential in this market and this is why we are going to provide to all of the local operators we work with more of our exciting content,” Milena Tsankarska, Business Development EMEA at CT Interactive, said.
The list of certified games consists of the most popular names such as Bavarian Forest, Big Joker, Brilliants on Fire, Dark Woods, Fortune Pig, Fruity Hot, Hot 7 ‘s X2, Mystic Moon, Pick the Pig and The Power of Ankh. The portfolio for the Czech market contains also Hot Luck Jackpot.
“The certified content contains some of our best-selling games and it is ready for launch with the operators,” Ivan Zoumpalov, Business Development Manager at CT Interactive for the Czech Republic market, said.
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