In 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in conjunction with the Gambling Commission commissioned a sector-wide survey to assess how the online gambling firms were treating customers.
Between October 2016 and September 2017, Britons gambled a whopping £13.9 billion. The gambling industry employs around 100,000 people. In addition, the United Kingdom has 8,532 betting shops, 152 casinos, 649 bingo halls, and 183,928 gambling machines.
Moreover, during the just-concluded FIFA World Cup, the British households were bombarded with around 90 minutes of betting advertisements. This prompted claims that children were being unfairly subjected to messages that seemed to encourage them to venture into betting.
The government of the United Kingdom has been on the receiving end in light of these developments. It faced criticisms for allegedly taking too long to place curbs on the
£100-per-spin fixed-odds betting termini. These jointly earned £1.8 billion a year for the bookies.
In response to this, the government has responded by putting in stringent measures. These, it avers, shall restrict the amount of time the adverts run on screens. This shall subsequently, according to the government, reduce the amounts of money that are spent on gambling. It came up with these stringent measures following an open consultation with the various stakeholders in the field of gambling.
To actualize this aim, the government has passed legislation to make it easier for gamblers to withdraw their money in case of a breach of the consumer laws or advertising rules. This directive shall come into effect on October 31.
According to the said rule, the government shall also fine any betting firm that violates the stated codes of conduct heavily. These include running adverts that target small children, glorify gambling, and deliberately misleading consumers. The same case shall extend to third-party advertisers like marketing agencies besides sending unsolicited text messages and e-mails to consumers.
Apart from the heavy fines, the gambling commission also imposes an eight-week ultimatum for the operators to settle any disputes that may arise from customers. This is to reduce the tensions, apprehensions, and anxieties that consumers normally confront under such circumstances. These changes in the law, the commission hopes, will hasten and expedite the solution of breaches to the existing laws.
The founder of Justice for Punters, Brian Chappell had this to say, ‘It is positive to realize that the Gambling Commission has ultimately acknowledged that gambling companies require tighter regulations.’
‘Only time will tell of the new rules shall be adhered to the letter. It waits to be seen if the consumers shall enjoy their rights and receive fair treatments. This declaration is incomprehensive but is nonetheless a welcome move.’
In response to these, some gambling firms have already announced their way forward. PT Entertainment, William Hill, and Ladbrokes have already announced their commitment to changing the manner in which they offer the bonus to customers that play online. BGO Entertainment Limited also followed suit a month later.