Following developments in the industry and serious complaints from customers, online gambling firms may now have to step up their game, and not bury terms and conditions where customers cannot see them.
A user at PlayHippo.com reported winning £1,700 and had problems withdrawing the prize from the casino, who refused to pay him due to some rules that were hidden in the small print.
The problem was that he made these winnings with a bonus he claimed from the casino. This was subject to a 35x wagering requirement on the surface. However, some small print terms and conditions not transparently displayed on the website acted like a “safety net” for the casino. This, unfortunately, enabled them to cheat the player out of their winnings.
With this and other cases in mind, the Gambling Commission is now tightening regulations. It hopes to restore public confidence in this sector, which currently has a bad reputation. Companies will be fined for breaking advertising rules or misleading customers with non-transparent small print. They will also have a deadline of eight weeks to answer any customer complaints, an area which was previously unregulated.
The penalties set for the gambling companies are no joke. If they don’t follow the set rules and regulations, casinos are looking at millions of pounds in fines. 32Red casino, for instance, had to pay a £2 million fine for failing to meet their obligations.
Another good example is 888 casino, a gambling operator who was hit with a £7.8 million penalty. At the Gambling Commission, they hope that a string of considerably sized fines, with the possibility of them increasing, will mean that the regulatory body is taken seriously. If this proves correct, then the operators will start paying more attention to these regulations, which will result in fairer play and more satisfied clients.
Safeguarding Is Not Optional
As Sara Harrison, chief executive at the Gambling Commission has said: “safeguarding consumers is not optional“. This means that the operators should bear in mind their obligations toward the consumer at all times. The penalty of up to £8 million, that 888 casino had to pay, goes to prove the seriousness of the task in hand.
Vulnerable online customers must be protected instead of being taken advantage of, and the lawmakers of their respective countries must make the gambling environment safer for all participants.
Regulated online gambling is still much safer than the illegal gambling which still exists in many countries.
When you play at a regulated online casino, you stake your money with a legitimate business, which aims to protect its customers. The operators are liable to their local regulatory bodies, and that motivates them to act responsibly. If, however, an operator decides to deceive its customers, the penalty will then be high and swift. Be that as it may, always make sure you check the terms and conditions, as well as read even the smallest of fine print.