U.K. COMPETITIONS AND MARKETING AUTHORITY TO PROBE ONLINE GAMBLING
"We’ve heard worrying complaints suggesting people may be lured into signing up for promotions with little chance of winning because of unfair and complex conditions," says CMA.
There is wide reportage this morning in the UK media on an upcoming probe of online gambling companies by the Competitions and Marketing Authority, triggered by complaints from punters that some operators are not being fair in the offering of promos and the application of T&Cs.
Anyone visiting player forums and mediation websites will be familiar with the regular flow of disputes of this nature, some justified and others not.
Reporting on the CMA decision to look into the issue, the BBC notes that 5.5 million Britons now regularly log on to internet and mobile betting sites.
Nisha Orora, the Authorities head of consumer enforcement, said in a statement that whilst gambling inevitably involves risk, it should not be a con.
"We’ve heard worrying complaints suggesting people may be lured into signing up for promotions with little chance of winning because of unfair and complex conditions," he said, adding that the CMA is concerned about:
* Consumers can find it difficult to withdraw their deposit when they want to stop playing;
* It is difficult to challenge any decisions made by the betting site;
* Complaints sometimes have to be made within 7 days;
* Betting sites can alter the odds without the knowledge of gamers.
Sarah Harrison, the chief executive of the UK Gambling Commission, says that her staff will collaborate with the CMA in the enquiry.
"Gambling, by its very nature, is always going to involve risk, but customers must have faith that if they win, they will not end up feeling that the deck is stacked against them because of an obscure condition that they did not properly understand," she said.
The investigation could result in enforcement action against individual gaming sites, or prosecution in the courts, the CMA warned.