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BGO Entertainment fined £300,000 for misleading advertising

Since May 2015, the Gambling Commission Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice have required all licensed gambling operators to avoid misleading consumers about promotions.

This means companies must clearly state what a 'free bet', 'bonus' or similar offer actually means and what consumers have to do in order to qualify.

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The Gambling Commission asked online gaming companies in June 2015 to make sure their advertisements met the standards of the new rules, but BGO was one of several companies that was identified for not complying.

The company's advertisements did not suitably outline what conditions there were around its promotions and so the commission deemed it's adverts "potentially misleading to consumers."

While BGO reassured the Commission it would take action, the watchdog said it continued to find evidence that advertisements on BGO's web site and on affiliate sites were potentially misleading.

In May 2016, BGO commissioned an audit of its web site that suggested some recommendations for BGO to follow, but the company did not initially do this and so continued to breach advertising-related rules.

Following further engagement, the commission said BGO made the changes recommended in the audit in late July 2016, but that it continued to find and capture evidence of ongoing breaches in relation to advertising on third-party web sites with which BGO had a contractual relationship up to October 2016.

Paul Hope, programme director at the Gambling Commission, said concerns were first raised with BGO about its advertising in July 2015, with the investigation focusing on misleading advertisements for promotions.

The commission said BGO that "did not take timely and effective action to address the misleading advertisement" and that it provided inaccurate assurances that the issues had been fully addressed."

Mr Hope added: "We want operators to take note that the issues identified in the decision notice are likely to form the basis for future compliance assessments and could lead to enforcement action."

BGO Group, which owns BGO Entertainment, is a privately owned online gaming company operating in regulated European markets. It launched in 2012 "with an objective to bring to market the best casino, bingo and slot products under one brand" according to its web site.


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