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Online Gambling Operators face enforcement action by the Competition and Markets Authority

CMA concern that online terms and conditions often confusing, unclear and potentially unfair

“The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced its intention to launch enforcement action against several online gambling operators.

Enforcement follows a joint programme of work undertaken with the Gambling Commission (GC) last October to assess the potential failings of Operators to comply with consumer protection law, specifically with regard to the fairness and transparency of gaming sign-up and free bet promotions.

The CMA is also investigating practices that may restrict customers’ rights to withdraw funds from their customer accounts.  Areas of concern include unreasonably high minimum withdrawal limits and the imposition of overly restrictive anti-money laundering procedures, which prevent customers from making legitimate withdrawals.   The GC is clear that whilst AML procedures remain critical for the prevention of money laundering and ensuring responsible gambling, such mechanisms should not be used to unduly limit customer access.

The GC has quoted its Chief Executive Sarah Harrison as stating that “Gambling operators must treat customers fairly” and that some operators provide terms that are “unclear with too many strings attached”.

It is clear that the CMA intends to take action where consumer law is shown to be breached.  The Gambling Commission strongly supports this position and has confirmed that it considers any such breach would be contrary to Operating Licence conditions and that decisive action would be taken by them.

Further details regarding the investigation and the CMA’s call for views on restriction of access to funds can be found here.

For further information on this issue or any other legal related gambling issues contact solicitor Richard Bradley 0115 953 8500.

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