The Competition Market Authority has declared that it will act against several online gambling companies it suspects of breaking consumer laws by infringing on the rights of the consumers. This action has been taken following investigations into the online gaming market. This market is worth $4.5 billion. The CMA worked with the Gambling Commission on a program that looked into the practices of the online gambling operators. The two bodies established that consumers were being given a raw deal.
One particular area of concern is the sign–up promotions that the gambling operators use to attract players to sign up. The promotions offer a cash bonus to players who put their own money into online gambling accounts. These promotions also contained several terms and conditions which were unclear and confusing because they contained lots of jargon.
Often players who signed up through the promotions would have no idea that they would be required to continue playing even up to hundreds of times before they could withdraw their money. Players were then forced to keep playing and were not afforded the chance to walk away with winnings until they met the stipulated conditions.
In this instance, the terms and conditions were identified as being potentially misleading because customers did not understand what they had signed up for as they joined the online gambling company. In other instances, the minimum amount players could withdraw was found to be more than what the player’s original deposited. The CMA has identified these practices as being unfair. Moreover, they may be in breach of consumer law.
While launching the enforcement action, Nisha Arora who is a Senior Director for Consumer Enforcement at CMA emphasised the need for operators to deal fairly with the players. He acknowledged that although gambling was always going to involve some level of risk, the odds should not be stacked against the players unfairly by the operators.
He also encouraged players who had experienced difficulty withdrawing their money from gambling accounts to come forward and report the matter to the CMA. The Gambling Commission Chief Executive, Sarah Harrison, warned the operators sternly that decisive action would be taken against any operator found to be in breach of consumer law as well as in breach of their operating license.
The CMA embarked on the investigations following numerous complaints from around 800 customers who were very unhappy with the services they had received at the hands of various operators. The investigations were primarily focused on whether the operators were complying with the consumer protection laws.
The investigations main aim was to identify and end these practices, which would then increase transparency in the gambling sector. The CMA is also looking into ways of improving online gambling practices across the board with the aim of ensuring that the customer’s rights are upheld. The CMA is working to improve the image of online gambling that had thus far been tainted by these incidents.
Seeking information regarding the investigations and resources to help anyone that may have been affected by unfair gambling rules and regulations is an excellent idea. Contact the relevant authorities to lodge a complaint if you are a victim of such unfair practices.