Online Casinos To Pay Out 14m As Watchdog Cracks Down | Regulators | The Guardian – Bookmakers Ladbrokes, William Hill, and PT Entertainment have agreed to change their online sports betting following pressure from the regulator.
The Competition Authority (CMA) says players should be able to withdraw money whenever they want and no longer have to play to withdraw winnings.
Online Casinos To Pay Out 14m As Watchdog Cracks Down | Regulators | The Guardian
The three companies – Ladbrokes, William Hill and PT Entertainment – will make changes to their advertising for online bonus games such as roulette and poker after the CMA reviewed whether the section breached consumer protection law.
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The Gambling Commission, which worked with the CMA on its investigation, said companies in all sectors should “immediately implement such changes”.
“Companies that fail to do so will face legal action from the Gambling Commission,” the CMA said in a statement.
Sarah Gardner, director of the Gambling Commission, said: “Gaming companies must treat their customers fairly and not attach unfair terms to promotions and offers.”
Brian Wright, Commercial Director of the Remote Gambling Association, said: “There are clearly lessons to be learned for other companies and we will work with the Gambling Commission and others to improve standards where necessary.
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We are currently in active discussions with the CMA and the Commission to explore how best to achieve this.
A statement from Ladbrokes Coral said the company understood that “things have gone too far on purpose” and that the new rules would improve transparency.
The company said: “He never liked to be in the spotlight on such matters, but we are pleased that a way has now been found to ensure that the standards set are met.”
William Hill said in a statement: “As one of the UK’s leading online betting and gambling brands, William Hill has worked with the CMA to ensure its concerns are met.
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We welcome the rules and regulations outlined by the CMA and look forward to their adoption across the industry. The ruling, if upheld, would affect whether companies can use the “gambler’s bias,” the false idea that past results exist. Impact on what will happen in the future. Photos: None
Online casinos are facing another round of abuse from antitrust gamblers after the marketing watchdog launched an investigation into a company’s claims about some “hot or cold” games.
The Guardian understands that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) can confirm a complaint lodged seven months ago about PlayOJO, which last year promoted a scheme that gave gamblers a unique chance to see winning games.
The website tells players: “Switch between hot or cold to show the best and least profitable games on the clock, updated every 5 minutes.
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The online casino, which is licensed by the Gambling Commission and owned by Malta Skill On Net Limited, suggests that they can play hot games to see if they continue to pay out or try to ‘change the odds’ on the sport. It is not so
The PlayOJO website page containing the promotional material is unavailable at the time of publication but may be available in an archived version. The feature was also promoted through a TV commercial in which a tarot card reader advises the customer while secretly using a PlayOJO mobile phone to make predictions.
Although the ASA has yet to make a final decision, a draft version of the proposal seen by The Guardian shows it supports complaints that the feature’s promotion was “misleading” and “irresponsible”.
The ruling, if upheld, would affect whether companies can use the “gambler’s illusion,” the false idea that past results have an effect on future results. An example of the mistaken belief is that a roulette ball is likely to land on a number because it hasn’t done so in a while.
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The ASA’s draft judgment warned that PlayOJO’s ads contained content suggesting players could control the outcome of the game, including the warning “choose your own destiny”.
Bookmakers have previously come under fire for promoting “hot” and “cold” numbers on net betting sites, the sophisticated digital roulette machines which were slashed from £100 to £2 after complaints about their links to addiction.
However, the ASA’s draft ruling on PlayOJO is the first time the regulator has set aside the feature and has potential implications for the wider gambling industry.
PlayOJO said it had not been asked to remove a page on its website that offered “hot” or “cold” features, and had not done so. However, he said he was “revising some marketing materials” and “so these pages have been removed from our site to address certain issues” and will be replaced soon. He added that the ASA could still agree that the ad did not breach the advertising code.
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A spokesman for the Betting and Gaming Council, an advocacy group of which Skill On Net is a member, said it could not comment on individual cases.
This article was amended on 22 April 2022 to replace the original image. A previous version of this story compared a game that was not available on PlayOJO. The Gambling Commission is investigating claims that online gambling company LeoVegas took £20,000 from a problem gambler who stole the money from his mother, then emailed him encouraging him to keep betting.
Details of the case, revealed by the Guardian, have prompted renewed calls from campaigners and politicians for gambling companies to do more due diligence before customers bet.
The victim, who is receiving treatment but may still face charges, had his account locked by LeoVegas in May 2018 after a customer service employee indicated “about” communications during a live chat.
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The account was suspended days after LeoVegas was fined £600,000 by the Gambling Commission for incidents of accepting bets from problem gamblers.
Despite the suspension, LeoVegas Group’s sister companies, including Pink Casino and Castle Jackpot, continued to send him marketing messages up to four times a day, offering him “free payouts” and bonuses.
In January 2019, after months of receiving emails, the player set up a new account with 21.co.uk, which is also part of the Leo Gaming group. He used the same name and email address, but this time he registered his mother’s voting card.
He gambled around £20,000 before 21.co.uk asked for identity verification and realized he was using someone else’s card, eventually blocking his account.
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Still, however, Leo Gaming Group’s sister companies have returned to sending marketing emails from their site, offering freebies and refunds.
As well as using his mother’s credit card without permission, the player racked up thousands of pounds in debt from payday lenders including 247Moneybox, MyJar and Satsuma.
Labor deputy leader Tom Watson, who is pushing for tougher measures on online gambling, said: “It makes no sense for gambling companies to carry out identity and background checks on gamblers after they lose.
“The whole process seems to be wrong. We also need to see urgent action to remove credit card betting and end the gambling advertising bombardment.”
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A spokesman for the Gambling Commission said: “We are very clear with operators about the rules they must follow to prevent and protect our customers from gambling harm. We will investigate where we see non-compliance.”
The event comes at a time when the government is considering whether to tighten rules on online gambling, including through stronger identification controls and regulations preventing gamblers from gambling with debt.
Currently, online casinos and betting companies are not required to check whether gamblers can find their habit before allowing them to place bets.
The Gambling Commission has gathered evidence in the case and is investigating whether LeoVegas breached UK licensing requirements. LeoVegas declined to comment.
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In 2018, the Gambling Commission fined Leogas £600,000 for a series of breaches after investigating the company’s UK licence.
Many failures are related to self-exclusion systems that allow gamblers to voluntarily avoid betting with a company. The regulator discovered that 1,894 LeoVegas customers posted promotional material despite being enrolled in a self-isolation policy.
More than 400 customers were allowed to bet £200,000 over a two-month period without the company talking to them first or using a 24-hour “blackout” period.
April 2019 Bookies withdraw new games after being accused of trying to circumvent the rules by reducing stakes on fixed betting methods from £100 to £2.
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December 2018 Ladbrokes announced it had paid £1m to victims of a gambling scam, as a promise not to inform the industry regulator.
November 2018 Three online casinos pay regulatory fines of £14m for failing to manage money laundering and problem gambling.
May 2018 Leo Vegas fined £600,000 for accepting bets from problem gamblers and sending them promotional material.
March 2018 SkyBet allows quarantined gamblers to continue betting and posting for £1m.
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