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Joint Competition and Markets Authority / Gambling Commission letter to the gambling sector

George Miller

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Joint Competition and Markets Authority / Gambling Commission letter to the gambling sector
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

“The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Gambling Commission (the Commission) have now concluded their joint programme of work concerning suspected breaches of consumer protection law in the remote gambling sector.

This work focused in particular on the fairness, transparency and potential for consumers to be misled by a number of terms and practices relating to online bonus promotions, and on obstacles preventing withdrawal of customer funds.

The CMA’s work with the Commission has resulted in significant changes by the sector. Six gambling firms provided undertakings to the CMA: Ladbrokes, William Hill, PT Entertainment, BGO, Jumpman Gaming and Progress Play. Each of these firms committed not to continue or repeat certain practices which the CMA considered were unfair. But the impact of this work has been felt across the entire sector.

Our joint work provided a sharp focus on aspects of online gambling and exposed significant shortcomings within the sector that had undermined consumer trust and confidence. The Commission mandated that all gambling firms would need to comply with the requirements set out in the published undertakings, not just those firms that agreed to them.

The findings from this work, and our expectations of you, have been well publicised, and all gambling firms should, by now, have amended their terms and practices to meet the requirements set out in the undertakings.

However, for you to comply fully with your consumer law and licensing responsibilities, you must go further than simply complying with the published undertakings. You need to audit all your terms and conditions, examine your business systems and practices, embed compliance and, importantly, continually review these to ensure that you maintain high standards of consumer protection in the future.

To be compliant also requires critical scrutiny of the practices of those that you deal with, including affiliates and third-party suppliers of systems, software and call centres, as you are responsible for their actions in accordance with the Commission’s Licence conditions and codes of practice (LCCP).

The updated provisions in LCCP, which came into force on 31 October 2018, mean that the Commission can take swift and firm action if you do not comply with consumer law and ensure that your customers are treated fairly at all stages of the customer journey.

We have seen indications of the wider sector working to make changes to the way in which promotions are constructed and promoted to consumers. Recent figures from the Independent Betting Adjudication Service highlighted a significant reduction in the number of disputes raised by consumers over bonuses and other promotions.

Making changes to promotions and withdrawal practices is an important start, but it is only one aspect of achieving compliance. More needs to be done by the sector to win back consumer trust. The best operators going forward will be those who lead by example, build on the work undertaken by the CMA and treat their customers fairly and responsibly. The Commission will continue to look at how firms treat consumers and the terms and practices that they employ when assessing suitability to hold a gambling licence. As well as undertaking compliance activity, the Commission continues to work to make gambling fairer. For example, the Commission has introduced new rules around ID verification that will allow consumers to collect their winnings without unnecessary delay.

Although the CMA does not intend to take any further action in connection with its investigation, it is not the end of its relationship with the Commission or its interest in the sector. The CMA will continue to work with and support the Commission as it progresses its compliance work, and as it continues to tackle unfair terms and practices to ensure the fair treatment of consumers.  It is important that you learn from the work that we have undertaken and ensure that compliance with consumer law is at the heart of your business model. This is essential for the sector to rebuild and maintain consumer trust.”

Yours faithfully, George Lusty, Senior Director Competition and Markets Authority

Yours faithfully, Paul Hope, Executive Director Gambling Commission

Compliance Updates

New Survey Shows Huge Public Support for Gambling Law Reforms in Northern Ireland

Niji Narayan

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New Survey Shows Huge Public Support for Gambling Law Reforms in Northern Ireland
Reading Time: 2 minutes

 

According to a new poll, the majority of people in Northern Ireland support reforming the country’s gambling laws. The research was carried out by the polling company LucidTalk on behalf of social policy charity CARE NI, which is campaigning for gambling law change.

Northern Ireland’s gambling legislation dates back to 1985 and critics argue it is not in line with the digital age.

According to the Department for Communities’ 2017 research, the north has a problem gambling prevalence rate of 2.3% – more than four times higher than England where it stands at 0.5%. In Scotland, the figure is 0.7% and in Wales 1.1%.

The department held a public consultation last year on the issue, but the final report has not yet been published.

When polling company LucidTalk asked what best described their position, 92% said maximum stakes and prizes online should be regulated by law, with only 8% saying there should be no limit.

Meanwhile, 90% either strongly support (68%) or support (22%) the idea of a mandatory levy for gambling firms, while just 5% were either strongly opposed or opposed to the idea of the levy. There were 1878 responses to the survey.

Public policy officer Mark Baillie described current laws as “hopelessly out of date and belong to a different era where online gambling didn’t exist.”

“Times have changed and the recent lockdown here in Northern Ireland has only increased the pressure on people with gambling addictions.

“The uncomfortable truth is that Northern Ireland has a real problem with gambling related harms and this means it’s all the more urgent to reform our current laws.

“This polling very clearly shows doing so would be hugely popular with the general population with the clear majority supportive on stake and prize limits on online games regulated by law and a mandatory levy on betting firms.

“CARE NI responded to the Department of Communities consultation on problem gambling and we look forward to the results being published soon.

“Our politicians must make this issue a priority and address the exploitation of vulnerable people thanks to a poorly regulated gambling industry.”

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Kazakh President Signs Amendments to Law on Gambling Industry

Niji Narayan

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Kazakh President Signs Amendments to Law on Gambling Industry
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Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has signed the law “On Amendments and Additions to Certain Legislative Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Gambling.” Bookmakers will be moved to Kapshagay and Schuchinsk gambling zones.

Earlier it was reported that the government of Kazakhstan wanted to create three new game zones in the country, however, deputies of the Parliament abandoned this idea and excluded this rule from the draft law. Now all bookmakers will be moved to the two existing gaming zones – Kapshagay and Schuchinsk.

In order to have information about the players, they will create a unified betting centre in the country and the player’s relatives will be able to limit the right to place bets appealing to court. All bets received by the bookmaker in cash or through electronic payment systems should be accounted in a single monitoring centre.

A single accounting of all payments received by the bookmakers will eliminate the shadow turnover, increase tax collection and simplify control. A database of players will contribute to the introduction of universal declaration, the introduction of a procedure for limiting and self-restricting a client from betting and will also strengthen measures to fight money laundering related to crime and the financing of terrorism.

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Compliance Updates

Pariplay Receives ISO/IEC 27001 Certification for Information Security Management

Niji Narayan

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Pariplay Receives ISO/IEC 27001 Certification for Information Security Management
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Online casino games provider Pariplay Ltd has received ISO/IEC 27001 certification for its Information Security Management System (ISMS). ISO/IEC 27001 is an information security standard published by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

This latest company milestone will enable Pariplay to continue their global expansion into regulated markets and to provide their extensive portfolio of engaging games to more operators. One such region where Pariplay will be making its debut is in Switzerland, a highly lucrative and prestigious market that uses the ISO certification as their regulation benchmark.

Establishing partnerships with a new base of operators in Switzerland will allow Pariplay to provide access to a repertoire of over 100 inhouse developed casino games, including its latest Spin N’Hit and Stallion Fortunes, as well as extremely popular titles like Wolf Riches and Dragons of the North.

“This accreditation acknowledges our unwavering commitment to compliance and security across our global operations, while also allowing us to continue to expand our reach into newly regulated markets, including Switzerland. We’re very excited at the possibilities this presents as more players get to experience our thrilling games and cutting-edge services, furthering our 2020 strategy of branching out into newly regulated markets on a truly global scale,” Adrian Bailey, MD of Pariplay, said.

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