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Online gambling firms face clampdown after CMA probe

Operators which provide online gambling to the UK market will in future have to change their "unfair" welcome offers or face a legal challenge after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced today that it was launching enforcement action against those that it believes to be breaking consumer law.

regulators are taking a closer look at the online gambling industry

The CMA has been conducting an joint investigation with the Gambling Commission since October 2016 into how the online gambling industry draws punters in with offers and then does not allow them to quit while they are ahead.

The investigation found that some customers "might have to play hundreds of times before they are allowed to withdraw any money." It is also concerned that minimum withdrawal amounts are larger than the original deposit, meaning players have to bet more to take out their winnings.

The CMA's senior director for consumer enforcement, Nisha Arora, said that many customers were finding that "the dice are loaded against them" and were encountering "a host of hurdles in their way when trying to withdraw winnings."

Sarah Harrison who is the current chief executive at the Gambling Commission said that gambling companies "should be under no illusion that it will take decisive action" if it believes their sign-up practices do not comply with consumer law.

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

The Competition and Markets Authority have also started a line of investigation over concerns that online gambling operators may be applying social responsibility and anti-money laundering requirements in a restrictive way, stopping legitimate players from withdrawing their funds.

"Those checks cannot be used as an excuse to unduly restrict legitimate customers from withdrawing their funds" said Ms Harrison.

 

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