In early February 2018, the most astounding promise was made in UK’s online gambling land. Read this: William Hill, PT Entertainment and Ladbrokes have vowed to remove wagering requirements from sign-up offers. No more restrictions preventing you to withdraw your money! No more fine print! Most importantly, players will not be forced to play more than intended in order to claim their winnings. The tides have changed and the UK Gambling Commission is leading the way.
What Changes Can We Expect?
The three gambling operators have agreed that:
- Players won’t be required to play multiple times before they can withdraw their own money
- Gambling firms must ensure that any restrictions on gameplay are made clear to players, and cannot rely on vague terms to confiscate players’ money
- Gambling firms must not oblige players to take part in publicity
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) had set the deadline of 31 July 2018 for these actions to be applied.
An Industry On The Edge Of Real Change
With three of the largest online betting and gaming brands in the UK on board, the industry means business. Firstly, the players will begin to expect nothing less from whichever casino that he or she chooses to play at. If the big operator offers welcome bonuses with no strings attached, why would a sensible person play anywhere else? Slowly, all operators, including the smaller ones, will follow suit and adopt this as the new standard.
This welcome bonus overhaul follows a string of other actions to make the online gambling market a fairer place. In December last year, Broadway Gaming was fined £100,000 for misleading advertising. A complaint was lodged against the “Deposit £10, play £35” bonus on Butler’s Bingo, one of the sites operated by Broadway Gaming. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority ruled that the operator failed to communicate significant conditions that applied to the promotion. The same shortcomings were later found on its other sites: Bingo Diamond, Casino of Dreams, Dotty Bingo and Rehab Bingo. What more, Broadway failed to control its affiliate marketing partners’ advertisements across other websites.
Earlier in the year, BGO Entertainment Ltd. were fined £300,000; 888 Holdings, Ladbrokes, Stan James and Lottoland also received six- and seven-figure penalties. The UKGC is cracking down hard. Aside from promotions, the Gambling Commission is looking into withdrawal practices, dispute handling and more; everything to make gambling fairer and safer for customers.
Hearing From The Casinos
The industry players are quite significantly affected, but their cooperation is admirable. Ladbrokes Coral admitted humbly in a statement that “things had unintentionally gone too far” and welcomed the new rules as a way to improve transparency. “It is never comfortable being in the spotlight on these sorts of issues but we are pleased that a way forward has now been identified and are committed to ensuring we meet the standards set,” the company said.
William Hill shares the same sentiments: “As one of the largest online betting and gaming brands in the UK, […] we welcome the standards and principles that the CMA has outlined and we look forward to their adoption across the industry. There are clearly lessons to be learned for some companies and we will work with the Gambling Commission and others to raise standards wherever necessary. We have already held productive discussions with the CMA and the Commission to consider how best to achieve that,” announced Brian Wright, director of business for the Remote Gambling Association.
A Brighter Future For Players
UK’s online gambling sector is worth £4.7 billion. Billions of players’ dollars have to be protected and the Gambling Commission has a large task on their hand. As such, it is comforting to see large moves towards a fairer future. As always, if you have a point of view or a complaint to share—be it around advertising, unfair terms or disputes—reach out to the UK’s Gambling Commission and you can be assured that your voice will be heard.