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UKGC Warns Operators over Unfair Bonus Terms

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published updated guidance for operators regarding fair and transparent terms and practices.

The new guidance comes after the Commission found licensees implementing terms that may not be fair and occasionally give undue discretion to decide how they are applied. It cited examples such as terms that allow licensees to take away players’ un-wagered deposits, terms regarding illegal, irregular, or fraudulent play, promotional terms that allow licensees to void real money winnings if a player accidentally breaks wagering rules, and terms that allow licensees to reduce potential winnings on open bets.

The Commission said that it has also come across examples of terms and conditions that are difficult to understand, as well as welcome bonus offers with wagering requirements that may encourage excessive play.

As such, the UKGC requires licensees to carefully review terms and conditions to ensure that they comply with consumer protection laws, the LCCP (License Conditions and Codes of Practice), and take into account the new guides. The LCCP states that licensees must be able to produce evidence that their terms are fair and transparent.

The UKGC has also advised that operators review their bonus offers, in particular those with wagering requirements. The LCCP requires bonuses to be constructed in a socially responsible manner. While wagering conditions are acceptable, they should in no way encourage excessive play.

In its new guidance, the UKGC highlighted that if a player is not happy with a licensee’s response to a complaint, then they may refer it to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provider. The Commission expects ADR providers to arbitrate on contractual and transactional disputes between players and operators. According to the UKGC, ADR providers must consider consumer protection legislation when looking at disputes, for instance, whether a contract term is fair.

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