IBAS backs UKGC update on consumer terms but industry requires Ombudsman

IBAS – the Independent Betting Adjudication Service has welcomed the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) decision to update its LCCP guidance on ‘fair terms and practices’.

On Wednesday, the Commission notified stakeholders that it had updated its guidance to ensure that licensed operators provide customers with fair and transparent rules of play.

The update was deemed necessary as the Commission has found that licensees have often used terms of play that can be considered as unfair and ‘in some cases’ will provide operators with ‘undue discretion’ to decide outcomes and disputes.

IBAS has welcomed the decision, acknowledging that although UK gambling recognises the need for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) schemes – some businesses fail to match “the minimum standards required of them”.

“This guidance – which we hope will not be the last publication of its kind – touches on a number of the areas in which IBAS has encountered industry resistance or objection to its decision making,” – remarked Richard Hayler, MD of IBAS.

“Clear guidance from the Gambling Commission about acceptable and unacceptable practice is helpful for everyone including consumers, operators and our own adjudication panel. We have found that in areas where updated regulatory guidance is clearest, the number of disputes and complaints reduces significantly because there is less ambiguity and less room for debate about what is fair or unfair.”

Founded in 1998 by former UK newsgroup Trinity Mirror, to date IBAS has helped UK gambling consumers claim back £7 million in disputed claims.

Backing the all-around objective of improving UK gambling’s consumer standards, IBAS recommends that the UKGC develop a closer working relationship with ADR providers.

Hayler added: “New regulatory guidance for the gambling sector, such as this, developed out of the experience of consumer complaints fed back to the regulator by an ADR provider is a positive sign of things to come.

“Regrettably, IBAS has experienced situations where companies which believed we had acted beyond our remit have terminated registrations with and moved to another ADR supplier.”

IBAS will continue to lead calls for the government to establish a single ADR scheme or ombudsman to oversee consumer disputes with the UK gambling sector – ‘backed-up by a clear and unambiguous regulation’.

Recognising dispute complexities and operator intricacies, Hayler has put forward IBAS as the ideal partner to fulfil UK gambling’s consumer dispute void declaring –

“We share the Commission’s view that terms setting out the consequences of different actions by customers should be clear and transparent so that the consequences of such actions – for consumer and operator – are understood by everyone.”

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