Online gambling operators face CMA enforcement action

It was announced on 23 June that, following a joint programme of work by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Gambling Commission to tackle concern about whether consumers are being treated fairly by online gambling operators, a number of such operators are facing enforcement action because of suspected breaches of consumer protection law.

Both the Commission’s and the CMA’s announcements can be downloaded below and our previous website postings on this subject can be read here and here.

In addition to this enforcement action, the CMA is now opening a new line of investigation into unfair terms and practices that could restrict customers’ rights to withdraw money in their online gaming and betting accounts.

Nisha Arora, CMA Senior Director for Consumer Enforcement, has said:

We know online gambling is always going to be risky, but firms must also play fair. 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.

That’s why we are today launching enforcement action where we think the law has been broken. We are also asking people who have had difficulties withdrawing their money when they’ve gambled online to tell us about it, and help probe this issue even further.

Gambling Commission Chief Executive, Sarah Harrison, has added:

Gambling operators must treat customers fairly – but some have been relying on terms that are unclear with too many strings attached.

Whilst the CMA takes enforcement action on how consumer legislation is followed, the gambling industry should be under no illusion that if they don’t comply with consumer law, we will see this as a breach of their operating licence, and take decisive action.