UK Gambling Commission Comes with an Iron Fist on Gambling Ads

Child Appealing Gambling ads

UKGC Comes Forward With an Iron Fist on Subjects of Child Gambling, Misleading Ads and Social Responsibility.

Some of the recent events in the field of online gambling regulations have revealed a more severe approach by the UK Gambling Commission towards less cautious behavior of some of the popular casinos on the web. There has been talk of harsh fines, letters of warning and sensitive matters such as underage gambling.

Ever since 2005, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission issues licenses and regulates people and businesses that provide gambling in Great Britain. The institution also covers remote gambling, lottery and land-based casinos. The UKGC is the place to go to when you want to get a license to operate and offer gambling services within the UK borders. Deemed one of the most strait-laced licensing authorities in the industry, the UKGC requires that casino operators keep players’ funds in a separate account from the company’s cash and it reviews the software for fairness and policies for privacy and safety, among other things.

The UK gambling regulatory body conducts regular investigations meant to shine light on the behavior of its licensees, always keeping both eyes open not to let anyone go astray. In case anything unpleasant happens, the UKGC reacts swiftly and publicly, addressing the matter with corresponding penalties or kindhearted advice that, unless taken, will result in even more rigorous proceedings.

Child Gambling

In most recent developments, child gambling has been a real thorn in UKGC’s side. The Commission and multiple other authorities have signed a letter sent to more than 450 operators in which it is demanded that ads deemed as appealing to persons younger than 17 are to be amended or removed immediately. Any other material on casino websites and third party media is also unacceptable, according to regulators, as it features cartoon characters – invented to appeal to children in the first place. Since these ads are generally available to view and attached to sites that offer free play, it is likely for them to attract a more youthful audience, which explains UKGC’s concern. Advertising practice is supposed to protect children and young people from being exploited; showing cartoons and comic book images on gambling sites is what the current regulatory bodies see as potential exploitation, obviously.

Gambling prevalence among children
Gambling prevalence among children (from UKGC 2016 Report)

Another noteworthy event brought the severity of UKGC’s attitude to our attention. Due to a technical failure in the systems of 888 UK Limited casino, 7,000 customers had access to the bingo room even though they were in the self-exclusion scheme. An investigation conducted by the Commission detected this unacceptable occurrence and fined the company with £7.8 million. To make matter worse, the whole ordeal lasted more than a year because at 888 UK Limited they weren’t able to detect the bug which ultimately allowed compromised players to deposit a total of £3.5 million. One of them even spent £1.3 million placing wagers, out of which £55,000 was stolen. That was the seriousness of the addiction. According to UKGC, 888 UK Limited was supposed to detect such intolerable behavior of one of their customers. Customers are at risk, and if they aren’t well protected, then the integrity of the industry is laid open.

Another operator had a taste of the UKGC’s wrath recently. BGO Casino had to pay a £300,000 fine and accept a formal warning from the UK gambling regulator after a review of the license. To make sure that BGO Casino meets with the conditions and codes of practice, the Commission did a monitoring and concluded that a lot of the advertisements on BGO’s site were misleading and violating of the industry’s regulatory principles. After an initial warning, BGO failed to react and amend said error. Now the venue will be closely watched and faces risk of losing the license. Misleading ads without significant promo information is certainly an issue is controlled by the operators and should be sanctioned if dishonest.

Some of these cases may seem like an overreaction by the UKGC, but it’s best to lay down the terms in a straightforward manner, or else there will be problems. Sometimes, technical problems could spoil one’s casino experience; on different occasions, deliberate misrepresentation by the casino brand could lead players onto a path of disappointment. Either way, the UKGC is trying its best to protect the rights of the gamblers and to make sure that operators aren’t ignoring regulations and taking them lightly. It would be ideal if players were constantly cautious and casinos always transparent. In real life, UKGC keeps the balance.

JimB

Casino Fan, originally from UK.

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