A number of big online gambling operators, including William Hill, Ladbrokes and PT Entertainment, have agreed to change bonus promotions following pressure from the UK regulator.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have said that customers must be able to cash out their money when they want, and not be forced to play more to release winnings.
Typically gambling websites use promotions to encourage players to sign up, but often these ‘bonus promotions’ come with wagering requirements on both the players money and the bonus offer.
The CMA wants to see changes to these promotions by the end of 2018 to make it fairer for customers who are quite often oblivious to the terms of an offer.
The three companies have agreed to get rid of terms that require players to meet a wagering requirement with their own money. They will also have to make clear the terms of any promotion up front, not hidden away on a different page. Players will no longer be required to take part in any publicity to collect any winnings.
The UK Gambling Commission, which has worked with the CMA on its investigation, has said that other online gambling operators must also ‘promptly adopt similar practices’.
The CMA said in a statement: “Firms not doing so will face regulatory action from the Gambling Commission.”
More guidance for gambling companies will follow this year.
UK Gambling Commission executive director, Sarah Gardner, said: “Gambling firms must treat their customers fairly and not attach unreasonable terms and conditions to their promotions and offers.”
William Hill said in a statement: “As one of the largest online betting and gaming brands in the UK, William Hill has worked with the CMA to ensure that its concerns have been fully met.”
“We welcome the standards and principles that the CMA has outlined and we look forward to their adoption across the industry.”
A Ladbrokes Coral statement said in a statement: “It is never comfortable being in the spotlight on these sorts of issues but we are pleased that a way forward has now been identified and are committed to ensuring we meet the standards set.”
Brian Wright, director of business for the Remote Gambling Association said: “There are clearly lessons to be learned for some companies and we will work with the Gambling Commission and others to raise standards wherever necessary.”
“We have already held productive discussions with the CMA and the Commission to consider how best to achieve that,” he added.