The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has updated its guidance on ‘fair and transparent terms and practices’ used by licensed operators.
The update was deemed necessary as the Commission has found that licensees have often used terms of play that can be deemed as unfair and ‘in some cases’ will provide operators with ‘undue discretion’ to decide outcomes and disputes.
The Commission highlighted discretions with regards to terms that “allow licensees to confiscate customers’ un-staked deposits” and regarding “the treatment of customers’ funds where a licensee believes there has been illegal, irregular or fraudulent play”.
Further concerns were relayed on terms that allow operators to reduce potential winnings on open bets and online games that “entitle licensees to void real money winnings if a customer inadvertently breaks staking rules”.
LCCP requirements state that licensed operators must be able to provide evidence that their terms and conditions have been applied in a fair and transparent manner.
The Commission’s updated guidance states that operators’ terms and conditions must be transparent with the Consumer Rights Act of 2015.
“The contractual terms on which gambling is offered and any consumer notices relating to gambling activity must be transparent within the meaning of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.” – the UKGC stated
Terms of play must therefore comply with the fairness and transparency requirements under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, in which “customers must be notified of material changes to terms before they come into effect”
Licensed operators have been urged to review their bonus offers and wagering requirements to ensure that they are compliant with the Commission’s code of practices on ‘Rewards, Bonuses and other marketing requirements”
The UKGC deems that The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is the lead regulator for consumer protection law – that in 2018 set out its clear principles on remote gambling consumer disputes.
The Commission concluded – “You must adhere to the CMA’s principles in order to demonstrate compliance with licence conditions and to ensure that gambling is provided fairly. This is in line with the second licensing objective of ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way.