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UK Gambling Commission Unveils New Enforcement Strategy

by Glenn Baird - July 11, 2017

UK operators found breaching gambling regulations will be dealt tougher punishments from the UKGC in an attempt by the regulator to “put the consumer first.”

Operators found in violation of gambling laws will face tougher financial penalties, especially in cases where there have been repeat offences.

The strategy was released following a 12-week consultation period with 21 stakeholders involved in an attempt by the Commission to “raise standards within the gambling industry.”

Richard Watson, a programme director at the UKGC stated that the Commission wants, “operators to engage with us when they have problems but for those who breach our regulations repeatedly there will be significantly increased financial penalties.”

Sarah Harrison, Commission Chief Executive, said: “We will use the full range of enforcement powers to ensure operators put customers first and raise standards.

“The industry can be assured that we will use our powers in a targeted way, and consumers and the public can be assured we will take robust and effective action when gambling companies don’t meet their obligations.”

An early indication of this new tougher stance was given by the Commission recently when they imposed heavy fines on a number of outlets for failing to meet the new regulations on self-exclusion.

Along with this, the UKGC will reduce the severity of the fines if operators can reach settlements with consumers without the Commission needing to get involved. However, the UKGC have made it clear that no operators will be allowed to “generate positive publicity” from any settlements that they meet with consumers.

The announcement of these harsher punishments for operators comes just a few weeks after a statement by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to toughen its stance on gambling companies who are found to be treating consumers unfairly.

The UK competition watchdog stated that it would be taking action against certain, undisclosed companies that it deems to have treated consumers unfairly.

CMA senior director for consumer enforcement, Nisha Arora stated that:

“People should get the deal they’re expecting if they sign up to a promotion, and be able to walk away with their money when they want to.”

“Sadly, we have heard this isn’t always the case. New customers are being enticed by tempting promotions only to find the dice are loaded against them. And players can find a whole host of hurdles in their way when they want to withdraw their money.”

CMA have spent the last eight months working closely with the UKGC in order to crack down on operators do not treat consumers fairly.