Regulator gets tougher on treating consumers fairly

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The UK Gambling Commission will make it easier to take tougher action against operators who aren’t treating customers fairly.

The updates to the Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice will take effect from 31 October 2018, strengthening the watchdog’s ability to impose fines against operators who fall foul of the advertising codes or don’t comply with consumer law.

It will be both quicker and easier to take action on misleading practices or unreasonable restrictions on withdrawals, for example, and operators will also be held responsible for advertising failings by their third party affiliates.

Anna Soilleux-Mills, lawyer at CMS Cameron McKenna pointed out that the changes might be seen as an “overstepping” of the GC’s usual regulatory remit – into the areas normally the preserve of the competition watchdog, or the Advertising Standards Authority; both of whom are have far less severe punitive approaches.

“Respondents to the consultation expressed concern about “double jeopardy”,” said Soilleux-Mills. “No doubt many will be particularly nervous given that the punishments available to the Gambling Commission far exceed those available to the primary regulatory bodies.”

“If anyone in the industry was in any doubt, the changes to the LCCP further demonstrate that the regulator is committed to getting operators to put the consumer at the heart of their business and, if necessary, is ready and willing to utilise its tougher enforcement strategy to achieve that goal.”

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